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Correspondence Between 




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pliment & Votre Patrie et aux deux Mondcs dc ce qu'cnfm vous Pavez 
perdu. (See page $0.) 

Correspond^ nci- 5etweee 





Edited by 


Sometime Richmond Alumni Professor of History in the University of Virginia 

Translations by 

Associate Professor of Romanic Languages in the University of Virginia 







" I need to be free, I need to be useful, I need to live with 
men of lofty feelings." 


September 8, 1805 


THE sixty letters published in this volume constitute 
the major part of the correspondence between Jefferson 
and Du Pont de Nemours during the years of the lat- 
ter' s intimate association with the United States. Ex- 
cept for one letter from the Coolidge Collection of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society, all have been taken 
from the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress. 
Du Font's letters, almost twice as numerous as those 
from Jefferson, are originals which their recipient pre- 
served. So far as the editor knows, none of these has 
previously appeared in print. Written in French, in an 
extraordinarily difficult hand, they have been trans- 
lated at the cost of no little eye-strain, which the editor 
has shared sufficiently to appreciate. If some of the 
passages seem to lack clarity, the fault may be attributed 
to the illegibility of the originals or to the occasional 
confusion of an old man's thought. Jefferson's letters, 
always in English, are in the form of press copies or of 
duplicates made by his ingenious polygraph. A num- 
ber of those published here have already been printed 
in one place or another, but rarely, we believe, in such 
truly Jeffersonian form. We have followed the manu- 
scripts as closely as modern usage will permit. Capitals 
have been placed at the beginning of sentences, some 

vlil Preface 

slight changes have been made In punctuation for pur- 
poses of clarity, and paragraphs have been Indicated 
where they seemed intended, but in almost no other 
case has there been any modification of eccentricity or 
caprice. The Sage of Monticello had & penchant for ab- 
breviations, made no point of literary consistency, and 
was distinctly an individualist in his spelling. 

The editor's introduction which precedes the cor- 
respondence outlines the relations between these two 
eminent men, without pretense of biographical com- 
pleteness. Notes might have been multiplied indefin- 
itely, but those which accompany the text will be suf- 
ficient, I trust, to explain most references which might 
cause difficulty to the general reader. We have omitted 
some long, technical letters, and certain obscure and 
repetitious paragraphs. A more complete edition of the 
correspondence, with the letters of Du Pont in the 
original, such as was announced by Professor Gilbert 
Chinard of Johns Hopkins University as this manu- 
script was going to press, would be a genuine contribu- 
tion to scholarship. 

The original suggestion that this correspondence be 
published emanated from President Edwin A. Alder- 
man of the University of Virginia, and the work has 
proceeded under his constant encouragement, invalu- 
able aid, and wise counsel. As he himself has stated it, 
he has "long been impressed by the spectacle of these 

Preface ix 

two modern-minded practical idealists, acquainted with 
disaster and revolution and the breaking up of society, 
seeking in a new world to lay the framework of a just 
and happy State. Since the principles of Jefferson have 
helped to mould the new nation's life and the descend- 
ants of Du Pont have attained the distinction of high 
public service which he hoped for them, the whole 
connection is one of supreme interest and romance." 
The Richmond Alumni of the University of Virginia 
by their grant enabled the editor to devote to this task 
time which ordinarily would have been required for 
academic duties. The generous cooperation of Pierre 
Samuel du Pont, Esquire, of Wilmington, and of 
Frederic William Scott, Esquire, of Richmond,, made 
possible the collection, translation, and publication of 
the letters. For friendly assistance, the editor is chiefly 
indebted, in addition, to the staff of the Library of 
Congress, especially of the Division of Manuscripts, to 
Mr. Julius H. Tuttle, Librarian of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society, to Mr. Harry demons, Librarian of 
the University of Virginia, to Professor Wilson Gee, Di- 
rector, and Miss Helen Harrell, Secretary, of the Insti- 
tute for Research in the Social Sciences, University of 
Virginia, and, last but by no means least, to Professor 
Linwood Lehman, who did the work of translation 
under difficulties of which the editor is at least partially 










VI. PARIS AND MONTICELLO, 1809-1815 124 

vn. DU PONT'S LAST VISIT TO AMERICA, 1815-1817 154 

INDEX 197 


THOMAS JEFFERSON made the acquaintance of Pierre 
Samuel du Pont de Nemours while Minister to the 
Court of Louis XVI on the eve of the French Revolu- 
tion. The ripe friendship between these two notable 
liberals ended only with the death of the elder in 1817. 
Born in Paris, December 14, 1739, less than four years 
before Jefferson first saw the light of day in the Pied- 
mont of Virginia, Du Pont had attained eminence as 
an economist before his future friend had written the 
Declaration of Independence. 1 He had little more than 
attained his majority when he began to wield his pen 
against the ascendant philosophy of mercantilism, with 
its elaborate system of rules and restrictions, and in 
behalf of the doctrines of the physiocrats, who glori- 
fied agriculture and advocated freedom of commerce. 
Like Jefferson, he rooted his faith in the soil and sought 
the regeneration of mankind through the removal of 
artificial economic and intellectual barriers. So tireless 
a foe of privilege and restriction met inevitable repres- 
sion in pre-revolutionary France. Expelled from the 
editorship of the Journal d* agriculture, du commerce et des 

The best sketch of the life of Du Pont is Eugene Daire, "Notice sur la 
vie et les travaux de Dupont de Nemours," in the volume, Physiocrates 
(Paris, 1846), i, 309-34. A valuable bibliographical note is on pp. 333- 

xlv Introduction 

finances in 1766, he soon assumed the editorship of the 
Ephtm&rides du citoyen, which was suppressed in 1772. 
Then called to the Court of Poland, he there became 
secretary of the Council of Public Instruction, but 
hastened back to France when his friend Turgot be- 
came Comptroller-General in 1774. 

During Turgot's all too brief tenure of office, Du 
Pont, sharing his hopes and labors, became his verita- 
ble alter-ego.* The fall of the financier (May 12, 1776) 
forced the exile of his devoted colleague, who betook 
himself to the country and there translated poetry and 
wrote two volumes ofMJmoires on the life and works of 
the statesman he adored. 2 After the death of Maurepas, 
however, Du Pont was recalled by Vergennes and en- 
trusted with two important missions. He negotiated, 
with the secret envoy of Great Britain, the bases of 
the treaty which recognized the independence of the 
United States in 1782; and he drew up the conditions 
of the treaty of commerce signed by Great Britain and 
France four years later. He served also under Calonne, 
and became at length a Councillor of State. As director 
of commerce, he greatly aided Jefferson in the latter' s 
efforts to gain commercial privileges for the struggling 
young American republic, and impressed that minister 
as the ablest man in France. There is, however, only 

* Physiocrates (Paris, 1846), i, 318 

a Mtmoires sur la vie et les ouvrages de Turgot (1782), 

Introduction xv 

scant record of correspondence between them before 
Du Pont, endangered by political developments in his 
native land near the end of the century, turned toward 
the United States, where Jefferson was then in office as 
Vice-President, though not in political power. 

Du Pont was imperiled before this. Elected by the 
third estate of Nemours to the Estates General, he 
showed himself distinctly a moderate as the Revolu- 
tion developed. He opposed the creation of the as- 
signats and hoped for the establishment of liberty by 
and with the monarchy. On August 10, 1792, he 
offered himself and his son in arms to protect the King 
and counseled the distracted monarch to defend him- 
self. Soon proscribed, he escaped detection until the 
Reign of Terror neared its end. Then thrown into 
prison, he was saved only by the fall of Robespierre. 
The following year he was elected to the Council of the 
Elders. Strongly opposed to the Directory, he estab- 
lished a paper, L'Historien, as the medium of his 
opinions. After the coup d'tiat of i8th Fructidor (Sep- 
tember 4, 1797), his printery was pillaged and he him- 
self narrowly escaped deportation. 

Such were the circumstances which caused Du Pont 
to turn his eyes hopefully to America. Though the 
government of the young republic across the Atlantic 
was then in the hands of a group bitterly hostile to 
subversive French influences, with which even so 

xvl Introduction 

moderate a reformer as Du Pont may have been Iden- 
tified by the extremists, he thought that here liberty 
was fixed in the habits of the nation. From the Feder- 
alists he doubtless expected fair treatment; from his old 
associate Jefferson he rightly anticipated a warm wel- 
come. Combined with his desire to escape political 
embarrassment was the ambition to repair his personal 
fortunes in a land of vast economic promise. As early 
as 1797, he had outlined a grandiose plan for an agri- 
cultural and commercial establishment in the United 
States, which he was to direct and in which he was in- 
vesting the greater part of the fortune remaining to 
him. 1 The chief purpose of the company, for which he 
optimistically solicited subscriptions, was to buy and 
sell lands, preferably in western Virginia, and to organ- 
ize commercial and industrial establishments there. 
He was certain that within ten years the invested 
capital would be quadrupled, and hopeful that it 
might be increased ten or twentyfold. Soon impelled 
to subordinate the element of land speculation, he an- 
nounced only the purpose of doing a shipping business 
on commission. 2 Subscriptions were fewer than he had 
anticipated, but in the autumn of 1799, feeling that he 
could wait no longer, he collected his family and set 

* Bessie G. du Pont, Life ofE. L du Pont (1923-26), iv, 86-100. 

* Ibid., v, 99-109. 

Introduction xvii 

Though exigencies of finance were chiefly responsi- 
ble for this delay, diplomatic complications may have 
played some part. Du Pont had originally coupled his 
project with a scientific mission from the Institut de 
France and had sought passports from Great Britain and 
the United States in this connection. 1 Diplomatic re- 
lations between the latter country and France were 
then broken, and the projected expedition was viewed 
with distinct disfavor by President Adams, who felt 
that the United States had had too many French 
philosophers already. 2 By the autumn of 17995 how- 
ever, Adams was endeavoring to restore amicable rela- 
tions with France and seems to have imposed no objec- 
tion to the coming of Du Pont, whose motives were now 
ostensibly commercial. 

Pierre Samuel, accompanied by a round dozen of 
descendants and relatives, sailed for America about 
October i, 1799.3 His second wife and her son-in-law. 
Bureaux de Pusy, erstwhile companion of Lafayette, 
had preceded him and bought a house near New York. 
In the main party were Du Font's sons, Victor and 
Eleuthere Irenee, and their families, Madame du Font's 
brother and her daughter, Madame de Pusy, with her 
baby. After ninety-three days at sea, they landed at 

* Life and Correspondence ofRufus King (1895), n, 367-68. 
3 Works of John Adams (1853), vm, 596. 

3 Bessie G. du Pont, Life of E. L du Pont, v, 115-16; E. L du Pont de 
Nemours & Co., A History (1920), pp. 6-7. 

xviii Introduction 

Newport, Rhode Island, the first day of 1800 and soon 
repaired to the recently purchased house near New 
York. This Du Pont named "Good Stay. 55 

Here he received a letter from Jefferson urging cau- 
tion in the investment of his funds. This counsel, rein- 
forced by personal conference in Philadelphia, caused 
him to refrain from all purchase of lands and to estab- 
lish merely a commercial house in New York, Du Pont 
de Nemours, fils et cie. 1 Subsequently, in order to 
facilitate the naturalization of his son Victor and take 
advantage of the commercial opportunities which were 
expected to center in Alexandria, Virginia, he pur- 
chased a house there. Du Pont de Nemours remained 
in the United States, where the difficulties of a foreign 
tongue greatly embarrassed him, only until the sum- 
mer of 1802, when he returned to Paris to rearrange the 
affairs of his company. His son Victor continued in 
commerce in New York, while Irenee soon set up a 
powder factory near Wilmington, Delaware. The 
original company backed the two subsidiaries, but Du 
Pont, in order to protect the subscribers, separated it 
from them both. 2 The controlling firm was located in 
Paris until its failure in i8u. 3 Victor du Pont's firm 
had failed in 1805, but the younger brother, increas- 
ingly successful as a manufacturer of powder, bolstered 

* Life qfE. I. du Pont, v, 117-^1. 

Ibid.> vi, 24; vm, 40-66. 3 Ibid., vra, 296 ff. 



the family fortunes. Du Pont pere remained in Paris 
until 1815, when, again induced by political dangers, 
he yielded to the entreaties of his sons and returned 
to America, where he died two years later. His two 
periods of residence in the United States comprised 
less than five years. His correspondence with his most 
cherished American friend, however, continued from 
1798 to 1817 with only slight interruption. 

At first, naturally, they discussed Du Font's coming 
to America. Then they turned to the topic which also 
dominated their final letters. In effect, their corres- 
pondence began and ended with a discussion of educa- 
tion. The Vice-President, hoping that a university 
would one day be established in his native State, asked 
his learned friend for an outline of subjects which 
might be taught in such an institution. He did not 
anticipate the treatise which issued from the tireless 
pen of the French philosopher, nor entirely approve 
of the scheme of education, centering in a national 
university, which Du Pont elaborated and later pub- 
lished under the title, Sur V education nationale dans les 
Etats-Unis d'Amfrique. Indeed, he was somewhat em- 
barrassed by the assiduity of Ms counselor and gave 
him no great encouragement in his persistent desire to 
have the work translated into English. Their corres- 
pondence, though rather one-sided, was marked by 
high mutual appreciation. During this twelvemonth, 

xx Introduction 

so fateful in Jefferson's political history, he procured 
the election of Du Pont to the American Philosophical 
Society, and the latter followed with constant concern 
the course of the campaign which eventuated in the 
election of his friend to the Presidency. The false report 
of Jefferson's death, referred to in several letters and by 
which Du Pont was so deeply moved, has been over- 
looked by practically all the writers on this tempestuous 

Jefferson's accession to the Presidency provided the 
occasion for Du Pont to congratulate him enthusiasti- 
cally, to discuss political problems with him, to seek his 
good offices for the powder factory, and, at length, to 
serve unofficially in connection with the negotiations 
which resulted in the purchase of Louisiana. His com- 
ments on domestic politics, often obscure and based on 
imperfect information, are significant chiefly in the 
confidence in Jefferson they disclose and the replies 
they elicited from the President. His references to the 
election of Jefferson to the Institut de France recall French 
recognition of the Virginian as the outstanding Ameri- 
can intellectual. From the political point of view, the 
letters in regard to the Louisiana negotiations are per- 
haps the most important in the entire collection. Du 
Font's return to France in June, 1802, was chiefly due 
to considerations of business, but on personal and 
philosophical, as well as commercial, grounds lie 

Introduction xxl 

strongly desired the preservation of peace between the 
United States and France. He would probably have 
returned to Paris in any case, but the opportunity to 
serve as courier, bearing important dispatches to the 
American Minister, to share the counsels of the Presi- 
dent, and to contribute to a settlement of the vexing 
question created by the retrocession of Louisiana to 
France by Spain, may have constituted an additional 
inducement. It is difficult to determine how much he 
contributed to a settlement into which Napoleonic 
caprice so largely entered. Monroe thought that on 
the whole he had been helpful. His lengthy letters to 
Jefferson probably served to stimulate and clarify the 
latter's mind. Certainly they elicited replies which will 
always be cited in connection with the major accom- 
plishments of his administration. 

Literary tasks combined with business to keep Du 
Pont in France throughout the rest of Jefferson's Presi- 
dency and six years beyond. His labor of love in editing 
Turgot's works, which he published in nine volumes, 
1808-11, reconciled him to separation from his sons 
and provided a constant excuse for his failure to return 
to America. His letters to his friend the President 
abounded in comments on American and international 
affairs, but centered in no single, vital question. He 
informed Jefferson of the medal awarded the latter by 
a French agricultural society for his improvements of 

xxil Introduction 

the plough, urged In ways both sensible and fantastic 
the organization of defense in the United States, dis- 
cussed possibilities in the matter of the Floridas, and 
persistently urged Jefferson to stand for a third term. 
The latter's replies, relatively few in number, were gen- 
erally limited to questions raised by his correspond- 
ent. The most interesting of them all, written two 
days before his retirement, has been printed before 
and often quoted. Nowhere else did Jefferson describe 
more strikingly his relief at escaping from the shackles 
of office, and his joy in retiring to family, farm,, books, 
and the "tranquil pursuits of science/ 3 which were his 
supreme delight. 

Between the withdrawal of Jefferson to his beloved 
mountain sanctuary in 1809 and the final visit of Du 
Pont to his children, the two men engaged in relatively 
disinterested discussion of problems of finance and 
government. The retired statesman outlined the devel- 
opment of American manufactures during the period 
of commercial restriction and predicted that the earlier 
condition of dependence upon Great Britain would 
never be restored. The economist responded with an 
elaborate discussion, only partially reproduced here, 
of the changes in the American system of taxation 
which he felt should follow the decline of income from 
imports. His rather abstract observations were duly 
passed on with mild approbation to the statesmen then 

Introduction xxiii 

In power, Madison and Gallatin, who probably pigeon- 
holed them. Subsequent letters from Du Pont during 
these years were even more theoretical. The intellectual 
garrulity of his old age was rather tedious. During this 
period his mind made no vital contact with that of his 
American friend. 

Du Font's return to the United States, following his 
participation in the abortive first restoration of the 
Bourbons and the disquieting return of the loathed 
Corsican from Elba, restored realism to his corre- 
spondence with Jefferson, but failed to bring that per- 
sonal contact which both men had so eagerly antici- 
pated. From the vantage-point of his son's successful 
establishment, he congratulated himself upon freedom 
from political entanglements, discussed with optimism 
the future of the Latin- American republics, and even 
predicted the ultimate dismissal of kings by despot- 
ridden Europe. Jefferson despaired of France, but felt 
that if Du Pont would come with Correa da Serra, the 
naturalist, to Monticello, the three of them could settle 
the affairs of both hemispheres. To the mountain-top 
the Frenchman and Portuguese in time repaired, but 
found to their consternation that the Sage, by some 
extraordinary misunderstanding, was miles away at 
Poplar Forest, his estate in Bedford County, superin- 
tending building operations. After enjoying for three 
days the hospitality of Jefferson's daughter, Martha 

xxiv Introduction 

Randolph, and the chatter of a tiny granddaughter, the 
disappointed French veteran departed, leaving certain 
of his works behind. The master, on his belated return, 
described his mortification with characteristic literary 
felicity and expressed profound regret that he had 
missed so rich a feast. The failure of the veterans to 
meet, after all these years of correspondence, had in it 
elements both touching and ludicrous. Perhaps neither 
of them was free from absent-mindedness. This lost 
opportunity proved the last they ever had to come to- 
gether. Their correspondence, however, was uninter- 
rupted and was marked by expressions of mutual esteem 
approaching tenderness. 

In one of his last letters, Jefferson, discussing Du 
Font's proposed constitution for certain of the Latin- 
American republics, set forth in some detail the dif- 
ferences between his own mature political philosophy 
and that of his revered friend. Both loved the people, 
but to the Frenchman they were yet children who 
might not be trusted without nurses; to the Virginian 
they were adults whom he would leave freely to self- 
government. Jefferson felt, however, that Du Pont had 
proposed for the Colombians as good a government as 
they could bear, and he gave, for the first time, his own 
approval of a literacy test for citizenship. It was here 
that he said, "Enlighten the people generally, and 
tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish 

Correspondence between 






PARIS, ib Ffucttdor of the year 6 

[August 27, 1798,] 

Du Pont (de Nemours) to Thomas Jefferson 
President of the Senate of the United States 


Dr. Logan * will tell you that he has found in France 
good and zealous friends of America; and you will not 
be surprised that I, as well as my son, was included 
among that number. During your embassy you saw 
me struggle on behalf of your country, and for princi- 
ples of liberality, of sincere friendship between the two 
nations, and against every financial and commercial 
prejudice which our government had at that time. 2 

1 Dr. George Logan, of Philadelphia, whose self-imposed mission to 
France in 1798 aroused the ire of the Federalists and resulted in an act of 
Congress which forbade further unauthorized missions. Jefferson wrote 
his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolphs January 17, 1799: "Dr. Logan 
tells me Dupont de Nemours is coming over, and decided to settle in our 
neighborhood. I always considered him as the ablest man in France." 
See Mass. Hist. Soc. Collections, 7 Ser., i (1900), 65. 

a See P. L. Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (1892-99), iv, 

2 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

You saw my joy when our efforts were not vain. 

This feeling of deep interest for your country cannot 
be lessened in me. I am commissioned by the National 
Institute x to make a trip there, which has for its aim a 
report on my researches which may be of use to science; 
and it is my intention to prolong this trip to the end of 
my life. 

I wish to die in a country in which liberty does not 
exist only in the laws, always more or less well, more or 
less badly, carried out; but chiefly in the fixed habits 
of the nation. 

I count on settling in upper Virginia or the western 

, I trust I shall again find there your lasting friendship 
and the aid of your wisdom and knowledge. 

I am sending you such of my speeches as the Council 
of the Elders * has ordered printed and my philosophy 3 
which, I hope, will not be out of harmony with yours. 

Best wishes and affectionate regards. 


1 The Institut de France, established by the law of 1795. Du Pont was 
one of the original members. See Comte de Franqueville, Le Premier 
Siecle de VInstitut de France (1895-96). 

a The upper chamber of the legislature established by the Constitution 
of 1795. Du Pont served in this body until September, 1797, was for a 
time one of the secretaries, and from July 22 to August 18, 1797, was its 
president (Moniteur Universe! for dates cited). His resignation, ostensibly 
on the ground of poor health (ibid., September 20, 1797), was due rather 
to the coup d'etat of 1 8th Fructidor (September 4, 1797). See Bessie G. du 
Pont, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (1920), p. 3. 

3 Presumably his Philosophic de VUnivers (1796). 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 3 

[January 17, 1800] 
M. Dupont the elder 


1 have just heard, my dear friend, of your arrival/ 
and I hasten to welcome you to our shores, where you 
will at least be free from some of those sources of in- 
quietude which have surrounded you in Europe. I 
feel much for what you must have suffered in a voyage 
of 95. days at this inclement season: but I shall hope 
to hear that these sufferings have passed away without 
lasting effects. I should certainly have hastened to New 
York to see you, and to offer you all the services I can 
render you, but that I am confined by my office to be 
in the chair of the Senate daily. 2 Your son is so well 
acquainted with our country, and M. Bureau-Pusy I 
presume in some degree so, that I hope they will be 
able to take care of you. 3 I much regret that you do 
not speak our language with ease, as I know from ex- 
perience how much that lessens the pleasures of society. 
Until I hear from you what are your plans & purposes, 

* He had landed at Newport, Rhode Island, January i, 1800. See In- 

2 Jefferson was then Vice-President. Philadelphia was still the seat of 
the government. 

3 Victor Marie du Pont (1767-1827) came to the United States in 1787 
as attach6 of the French legation. In 1798 he was appointed consul 
general of France at New York, but was refused an exequatur by President 
Adams. Returning to France, he emigrated with his father. See article by 
Broadus Mitchell in Dictionary of American Biography, vol. v (in press). 
Bureaux de Pusy, son-in-law of the second wife of Du Pont, with her had 
preceded the rest of the family group to America. 

4 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

I know not in what way I can be useful to you; I wish 
I could have a personal explanation of them; but in 
the mean time I pray you to command any offices I can 
render you. The present agonizing state of commerce, 
and the swarms of speculators in money and in land, 
would induce me to beseech you to trust no-body, in 
whatever form they may approach you till you are 
fully informed; x but your son, I am sure, is able to 
guard you from those who in this as in every other 
country consider the stranger as lawful prey, & watch 
& surround him on his first arrival. I ain in hopes you 
bring us some account of La Fayette. Health and 
happiness to you & the most affectionate salutations. 


NEAR NEW YORK, January 20, 1800 
To Mr. Jefferson 


Here I am in your country; and the first thing I find 
is a mark of your kindness to ine, in the hands of my 
friend Pusy. 

I am deeply touched at your remembrance. 

I admit that our former relations and the devotion 
to America, which you saw in me when I was Privy 
Councillor for the King of France and charged with 

1 Jefferson's advice was one of the reasons why Du Pont delayed, and 
ultimately abandoned, his plan to speculate in lands. See B. G. du Pont, 
Life of E, I. du Pont, vra, 41. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 5 

the administration of commerce for my country, had 
caused me to hope to find some kindness at your hands 
in return for the affection which you had inspired in 
me. But it is all the more pleasant to me to see that I 
had not presumed too much on your kindly disposi- 

I shall go in about a fortnight to Philadelphia to 
thank you; x and then I shall return to the temporary 
shelter in which I live to await a better knowledge of 
your language and a better knowledge of the sort of 
establishment which I can form. 

The ideas which I conceived in Europe aim at 
bringing me nearer to you by fixing the center of my 
work in upper Virginia. But I cannot fix upon any 
plan before I am better informed, 

But what permits of no doubt is my sincere friend- 
ship for you. 


As I was folding my letter,, I received yours undated. 

How kind you are! 

How touched I am by it! 

And how disposed I am to take advantage of your 
offer of aid, as much as I can without bothering you 
too much! 

1 This he did within a few weeks and promised to visit Jefferson in the 
summer at Monticello with Madame Du Pont. See Mass. Hist. Soc. Co/- 
kctions, 7 Ser., i, 74. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours y 

ability and virtues, so intimately bound together, is a 
thing that I have never seen but this one time. 

And we have you to preserve us from errors! 

God in everything be praised! 

I left our dear La Fayette eight months ago in Hol- 
land. I saw his wife and son almost every day until I 
left Paris on the twelfth of September of last year. The 
English invasion forced him to leave the Batavian Re- 
public and return to Hamburg. The strained relations 
which exist between France and the citizens of Ham- 
burg very likely have caused him to leave their city 
again; and I think he is at present in Holstein or has 
returned to Holland. He cannot and will not come to 
America until his wife succeeds in converting her own 
personal fortune into ready money (for La Fayette's is 
lost), so as to be assured of some sort of independence* 

8 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 




PHILADELPHIA Apr. 12, 1800 
M. Dupont de Nemours 


You have a mind, active, highly informed, and 
benevolent- I avail myself of all these qualities in ad- 
dressing to you the following request. I mentioned to 
you when you were here, that we had in contemplation 
in Virginia to establish an university or college on a re- 
formed plan; omitting those branches of science no 
longer useful or valued, tho hitherto kept up in all 
colleges, and introducing the others adapted to the real 
uses of life and the present state of things: and that I 
had written to Doctr. Priestley to engage him to pro- 
pose to us a plan. 1 This he will do. But I wish to have 
your aid in this business also. I do not mean to trouble 
you with writing a treatise; but only to state what are 
the branches of science which in the present state of 
man, and particularly with us, should be introduced 
into an academy, and to class them together in such 

* January 18, 1800. See The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 9 

groupes, as you think might be managed by one pro- 
fessor devoting his whole time to it. It is very interest- 
ing to us to reduce the important sciences to as few 
professorships as possible because of the narrowness 
of our resources. Therefore I should exclude those 
branches which can usually be learned with us in 
private schools, as Greek, Latin, common arithmetic, 
music, fencing, dancing, &c. I should also exclude 
those which are unimportant, as the Oriental languages 
&c. and those which may be acquired by reading 
alone, without the help of a master, such as Ethics, &c. 
A short note on each science, such as you might give 
without too much trouble would be thankfully re- 
ceived. Possessing yours & Dr. Priestley's ideas, we 
should form a little committee at home, and accom- 
modate them to the state of our country, and disposi- 
tions of our fellow citizens, better known to us than to 
you. Our object would be, after settling the maximum 
of the effort to which we think our fellow citizens could 
be excited, to select the most valuable objects to which 
it could be directed. 1 [Illegible Latin quotation.] 
Accept my salutations and assurances of sincere re- 
spect & esteem & my hopes that your apostleship from 
the national institute will lead you towards Monticello, 

* Jefferson was unable to give any serious attention to projects of higher 
education until after his retirement from politics in 1809. The discussions 
during these earlier years were essentially theoretical. See P. A, Bruce, 
History of the University of Virginia (1920), i, 63-65, 73. 

io Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

where we shall be made very happy possessing Md e . 
Dupont & yourself. 
Affectionately, Adieu. 1 

GOOD-STAY, April 21, 1800 
To Mr. Jefferson 

I gratefully acknowledge the receipt of your letter, 
and I shall do as well as I can what you are so kind as 
to intrust to me. 

But it is impossible for me to give it suitable attention 
until after the departure of the Parlementaire which is to 
carry my business correspondence to Europe. For I 
am forced to be a shrewd merchant and a good busi- 
ness director, since God has made me poor, and since, 
no longer engaging in public matters, I can hope to be 
useful again to the human race and to attain to some 
great and honorable work only with another's capital, 
and necessarily on the condition that I increase it. I 
must earn by the sweat of my brow and for the profit 
of my associates the right, the freedom, the power of 
having them share (without their thinking about the 
matter) in institutions which are advantageous to man 
and which God can regard with kindness. 

As to national education, the greatest of national 
affairs, you have perfectly perceived and shown in your 
Notes on Virginia,* which contain excellent views on this 

* Taken from a press copy without signature. 

a This noted work of Jefferson's, which went through many editions, 
may be seen conveniently in his Writings (Ford ed.), ni, 68-295. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 1 1 

matter, that colleges and universities are not the most 
fundamental things to attain it* 

All instruction really of use in our daily life, all 
practical sciences, all physical activity, all good sense, 
all upright notions, all morality, all virtue, all courage, 
all prosperity, all the happiness of a nation, and espe- 
cially of a republic, must begin with primary and ele- 
mentary schools. 

Boarding schools, colleges, universities, learned and 
philosophical societies can and must serve only In the 
development of a small number of outstanding natures, 
which have only two actual uses themselves: first, the 
advancement of the sciences; second, the application 
of their results to the arts, which find a suitable place 
in common instruction and in those courses taught 
without effort in the elementary schools, 

But it is for the last that it is extremely difficult to 
work. We ourselves are very commonplace: man is a 
poor creature. We have learned with trouble enough 
what sort of conversation is carried on with those who 
have some intelligence, those whom higher education 
has improved. We know not the language of the 
multitude which is stupid and heedless; we know not 
how to penetrate those minds which have but little 
energy and aptitude; more still, we know not what 
would be the way to influence the intelligence of chil- 
dren to listen to ours. We were children so long ago 

12 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

that we have forgotten it; and yoting men in their 
pride and passions have no thoughts sufficiently lofty 
to remember with a profound enough philosophy that 
beautiful and interesting period in their lives: besides 
they are occupied with ambition and with pleasures, 
much work with small glory, and not their real busi- 

So we must go back to our own childhood, seek care- 
fully in our own memory how and why we understood, 
and in what way our natures were formed, so as not to 
estrange this young generation [cette jeunesse] which 
succeeds us, so as to make it understand and desire, to 
render it as enlightened and as happy as our average 
natures permit. 

This average can be raised, not above what great 
men have been, but above the ordinary scholars of 
Germany, Italy, England, and France. It can be done. 
Are we capable of doing it? At least it must be at- 

It would be the great aim of my ambition, and al- 
most its only aim, since I have experienced that no 
political institution is lasting except through prejudice, 
which is the only knowledge of fools or of an almost 
infinite majority; and how necessary it is then to add to 
the force of reason itself that of prejudice, while troubling 
childhood only with ideas that are true, sensible, use- 
ful, agreeable, pleasant, and naturally associated, and 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 13 

which can remain on tap, without bother or incon- 
venience, in the opinion of those who are fit only to 
repeat and believe and never to be called to account 
afterwards by those who are worthy of thinking. 

It is a pity we are no longer young. But I have seen 
Quesnaj at work at eighty-one, Franklin at eighty-two, 
Voltaire at eighty-four, d'Aubenton at eighty-five and 
hard at work too. 

Besides, if it be pleasing to the Director to lower the 
curtain before we have finished playing our parts, he 
will doubtless have his reasons for it; but there is no 
reason for us to interrupt ourselves and to play our 
parts carelessly. 

Affectionately and respectfully yours 

Madame Du Pont is grateful for your thoughts of her. 

I enclose a small work on the early education of 
Countrymen * which I amused myself by writing while 
they were looking for me to cut my throat. It was the 
beginning of a book which I haven't had time to 
finish. I have only this copy; but to whom can I better 
offer it than to you? 

I will have a second pamphlet copied for you, which 
I did at the Institute on the same subject. 

1 Perhaps his Vices sur ? Education nationalepar un cultivateur, published in 
Paris, An II ( 1793-94)" 

14 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

To Mr. Jefferson 


I am now about to busy myself upon the work with 
which you charged me. I should like this to be done in 
a manner worthy of you and the importance of the 
subject. But I dare not hope for so much. 

A plan of education which does not begin with the 
elementary school is what is called in France "the cart 
before the horse" [une charrue devant les boeufs]. 

My friend Pusy will deliver this letter to you; he is 
worthy of all your esteem; and in addition to a great 
many things in which he excels me, he has the advan- 
tage of speaking English pretty well & la frangaise: 
which is preferable by far to not speaking it at all. 

I dare say that you are satisfied with the New York 
elections. 1 I congratulate America and you, 

My respectful and very affectionate greetings. 


PHILADELPHIA May 12, 1800 
M. Dupont de Nemours 


I am happy in having seen here M. Bureau Pusy. The 
relation in which he stands to two persons whom I 

1 In New York, as in most states at this time, presidential electors were 
chosen by the legislature. The elections for the legislature, held a few 
days before the date of this letter, were favorable to the Republicans, and 
because of the strategic importance of the state were regarded as an 
augury of success in the country as a whole. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 15 

so much esteem as yourself and M. de la Fayette/ as 
well as his own merit ensured him my best wishes. He 
is now on the wing as well as myself. I have therefore 
only time to inform you that about three weeks ago 
you were chosen a member of the American Philosoph- 
ical society by an unanimous vote. 2 The diploma is 
made out and signed, but the Secretary who has the 
seal in possession is absent from Philadelphia, so that it 
cannot be sealed till his return. It will then be for- 
warded to you by one of the Secretaries. Accept the 
sincere wishes for your health and happiness of Dear 

Your affectionate friend & servt 


P.S. The piece you put into my hands on the relations 
between animals & vegetables was read to the 
society and ordered to be printed in their next 
volume. 3 

* Bureaux de Pusy, captain of engineers, was one of the twenty-two of- 
ficers who left France with Lafayette, August 19, 1792, after the proscrip- 
tion of the latter by the Assembly. He remained in prison, nearly always 
in the same German or Austrian fortress as his chief, until September, 1 797, 
and was one of the three "prisoners of Olmutz," who excited so much 
sympathy in Europe and America. See fitienne Charavay, Le General 
LaFayette (1898), pp. 329-65. He returned to France in 1801. See Bessie 
G. du Pont, Life ofE. I. du Pont (1923-26), vm, 45. 

a April 18, 1800. 

s Presented at the same meeting. For the relations of Du Pont with the 
Society, see "Early Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society" 
(Proceedings, vol. xxn, 1884), pp. 298-301, 313, 459. 

1 6 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

June 15, 1800 

To Mr. Jefferson 


I have just finished the work you were good enough 
to ask me for on national education. 1 

Like the original draft, I am quite muddled and I 
am compelled to have a clear copy made. Work is 
being done on it now, 

Alas! It is a veritable volume. 

I do not know whether you will find it worth while. 

But it will not be entirely bad. And at least it will be 
a slight monument of my affection for you and of my 
zeal for the United States. 

Sometimes I was afraid that, since you did not hear 
from me, you believed I was neglecting the task you 
had given me. 

If a person became frightened at his weakness, he 
would do nothing. I prefer to take a chance and do what 
my friends desire and what I believe to be of some use. 
Respectfully yours 


Can a note book of two or three hundred pages be 
forwarded to you by mail? 

Madame Du Pont sends regards. Pusy does likewise, 
and my children add their good wishes. 

1 See note on his letter of August 24, 1800, below. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 17 

To Mr. Jefferson 

Nothing can equal the grief and consternation I felt 
when I saw the sad and false piece of news which 
America's enemies and yours had inserted in the news- 
papers. 1 I believed I had lost the greatest man on this 
continent, the one whose clear thinking can be most 
useful to the two worlds, the one who by his similarity 
to our principles gives me the hope of the firmest sort 
of friendship so necessary to one living far from his 
native land. 

I went through several days of indescribable un- 

I congratulate you and the United States, and I my- 
self am thankful, that blundering attempts at slander 
nearly always prove to be a boomerang. 

They will make some mistake or other, M. de Vergennes 
said. This self-satisfaction which an enemy never 
lacks is always of more value to us than our own 

* The Baltimore American, June 30, 1800, published a report that Jeffer- 
son had died at Monticello, June 24, after an illness of forty-eight hours. 
The information upon which this was based had been brought from Win- 
chester, Virginia, by certain gentlemen who claimed they had gained it 
from a "respectable resident" of Charlottesville. The report was widely 
reprinted. The Philadelphia Gazette, a Federalist paper, copied it July 2, 
1800, but contradicted it the next day. The Philadelphia Aurora, a Jeffer- 
sonian paper, reprinted it July 3, 1800, asserting that it was circulated "to 
damp the festivity of the 4th of July, and prevent the author of the Decla- 
ration of Independence, from being the universal toast of the approaching 
auspicious festival. 5 * 

1 8 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

The work on National Education in America is as 
yet only half copied. 

My friend Pusy is kind enough to take the trouble to 
transcribe it. The copy will be much more correct and 
often rectified by his wise counsel. But the result is 
that I have not the right to hurry him. 
My sincerest regards to you. 


My wife and children shared my grief and joy. 

MONTICELLO July 26, i8oo 
M. Dupont 


I am much indebted to my enemies for proving, by 
their recitals of my death, that I have friends. The 
sensibility you are so good as to express on this [sub- 
ject] is very precious to me. I have never enjoyed 
better nor more uninterrupted health. 

I ought sooner to have acknoleged your favor of June 
15. which came to hand in due time as did that of the 
6th. instant. Thank you for your assiduities on the 
subject of education. There is no occasion to incom- 
mode yourself or your friend by pressing it; as when 
recieved it will still be some time before we shall 
probably find a good occasion of bringing forward the 
subject. There are labors for which your reward will 
come when you will be no longer here to enjoy it. ["We 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 19 

have had] what is considered here as a very hot spell of 
weather. Yesterday was the warmest day we have had 
this year. The thermometer was at 86. at this place & 
probably 2. or 3? more in the vicinities. 1 When do you 
move on to Alexandria? For then I may expect to see 
you. I have much lamented you did not land here 
instead of New York. As you were determined to find 
the first spot you saw good enough to live on, this might 
in that case have become the object of your choice. 
We are anxious to hear of our treaty from Paris. 2 When 
that arrives, I presume, I shall have to meet the Senate 
at Washington. And perhaps I may meet yourself 
there: for till then I can hardly flatter myself with your 
adventuring so far as this place. Then, now, or when- 
ever it best suits you I shall be most happy to recieve 
you. Present my friendly salutations to Madame 
Dupont and to all the members of your family, & ac- 
cept yourself assurances of my sincere & affectionate 


* Jefferson kept a careful record of the temperature throughout most of 
his life. During his absences from Monticello, his son-in-law, Thomas 
Mann Randolph, made the proper entries and sent the readings to him 
wherever he was. { 

a The American commissioners dispatched by President Adams to arrive 
at a settlement with the French had arrived in Paris some weeks before the 
date of this letter, but the convention which restored amicable relations 
was not signed until September 30, 1800, 

2O Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

GOOD-STAY, NEAR NEW YORK, July 26, 1800 
To Mr. Jefferson 


After mourning your death as one of the greatest 
misfortunes that could happen to America and the 
world, and my heart added "to me also/' I have been 
worrying today about your health. 

About six weeks ago I informed you that my work on 
National Education in the United States was finished 
and that Pusy was putting it in order. I wonder if it 
can be sent to you by mail. 

Since then I let you know how the sad news spread 
by the newspapers had filled me with grief; with what 
pleasure I learned that it was false; and my opinion 
that such spiteful stupidity always benefits worth and 

Lastly I informed you of what has been proposed to 
Pusy; x and I asked you to let us have your opinion of 
the matter, 

I believe that you are a planter and that it is now 
harvest time. 2 

But if you were ill, I would beg you to have me in- 
formed. And tell us at the same time whether the 
manuscript on education can be sent by mail or in 

1 Du Font's letter of July 17, 1800, which refers to the suggestion that 
Pusy enter the service of the United States as colonel in the engineering 
corps, has not been reproduced here. 

3 Jefferson grievously neglected his correspondence during the summer 
months at Monticello. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 2 1 

what way I can send it to you. It is now copied in a 
rather compact hand and comprises only about a 
hundred pages. 

As always, my best regards to you. 



M. Dupont de Nemours 


In my letter by the last post I omitted to answer the 
question proposed in a former & repeated in your 
letter of July 26. whether your manuscript on educa- 
tion can be forwarded by post? It may; and will come 
safer through that than any other channel. Accept in 
advance my grateful thanks for it; and my efforts will 
not be wanting to avail my country of your ideas. 
Success rests with the gods. 

I had anticipated your question about the height of 
the thermometer. 86 ? of Fahrenheit has been the 
maximum of the season at Monticello, & 88 9 of course 
in its vicinities. I rejoice to hear that you will stay 
chiefly at Alexandria. I shall then consider you within 
visiting distance. For tho* I suffered myself to con- 
sider as possible your meditated visit from N. York; in 
soberer moments I viewed the undertaking as too great 
for the object. Be this as it may I shall be happy to see 
you & to hear from you at all times and places. Pre- 

22 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

sent my respectful salutations to your family and ac- 
cept assurances of my great & constant esteem. 


GOOD-STAY 24 Auguste 1800 (sic) 
Mr. Jefferson 


I gratefully acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 

the eleventh. Here is the book. 1 Would that it were 
worthier of the subject and of the philosopher who 
asked me to handle it. 

It is treated like a governmental memorandum 
[memoire d' administration],, for it really is one; not 
like a work designed for the public. 

There is nothing for the reader. I did my work only 
for the statesman. 

May he accept my sincerely respectful affection. 


I see in the papers that Truxton (sic) is leaving and 
will do the impossible in order to have a second fight with the 
Vengeance.* Whence comes this madness for killing 

1 Published in France under the title, Sur I* Education nationals dans le$ 
tats-Uni$ d'Amerique. Only the second edition, 1812, seems now avail- 
able. From this a translation has been made by Bessie G. du Pont and 
published, with an introduction, under the title, National Education in the 
United States of America ( 1 923) . For a summary of the work, see P. A. Bruce, 
History of the University of Virginia, I, 63-65. Jefferson disapproved of a 
national university at Washington, which represented the "apex" of 
Du Pout's whole system. 

* Captain Thomas Truxtun, commanding the American frigate Con- 
stellation, engaged La Vengeance, a French vessel, off Guadaloupc, February 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 23 

foreigners and for getting one's fellow countrymen 
killed, when it is evident that both nations are recon- 
ciled or arbitrating? 

And it is said that he hastened for fear of getting 
official news of an armistice. 

What vain and unreasonable creatures most men are! 

They would be quite otherwise if they had been 
properly brought up and if morality had become their 

My wife sends greetings. My children offer their 

If the heat in Virginia is much worse than it is here, 
I shall find it to be excessive. 

I have sent my son to Alexandria to look for a suit- 
able house. 1 It will be there that I shall live most of 
the time. 

We need a house in Alexandria and another in 
New York. 

i, 1800, but lost his intended prize. See American State Papers, Naval Af- 
fairs ( 1 834) , i, 7 1-73. Du Font's resentment was due to Truxtun's appar- 
ent anxiety to renew the engagement, months later, though the American 
commissioners were in France endeavoring to bring to an end the quasi- 

1 Victor du Pont bought a house and shop in Alexandria in order that 
he might become naturalized in Virginia, where only the ownership of 
property was necessary for the attainment of citizenship, and in the hope 
that the company might share in the commerce which was expected to 
center in that city. 

24 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

GOOD-STAY, NEAR NEW YORK, November 8, 1800 
Mr. Jefferson 


About the soth of August I had the honor to send 
you by mail, as you said I might, my work on National 
Education in the United States. 

I am beginning to fear that the postal service is no 
more careful here than it is in Europe; that your name 
and the size of the package aroused curiosity; and that 
after satisfying it, some one deemed it best either to 
keep or burn the contents: were it only because one is 
perhaps still unskilled in this art of the old world and 
will not likely be willing to attest to you through the 
disorder of the envelope and seal that public faith has 
been violated. 

It may be too that you have not had time to read a 
rather long French manuscript, and that you did not 
want to write before reading it. I understand quite 
well that you have more than one piece of business to 
attend to, and that of education, which can occupy 
you only during your presidency, is not the most 

Or again it may be that you have entrusted the book 
to some friend to translate into English, which I count 
on doing myself this winter if you haven't already had 
it done. 

But let me know whether you have received it. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 25 

At last peace is here. Your high officials will have 
only good to do. 

My best regards to you. 


Pusy is at work on reconnaissance and on projects 
for the fortification of New York harbor. 1 He sends you 
his regards and my children their respects. 

WASHINGTON!)^. 12, 1800 
M. Dupont de Nemours 

[Salutation dim] 

I know, my dear friend, that you sent me, as long ago 
as August, the much-desired and much valued piece on 
education, which I read with great pleasure, and ought 
to have acknoleged it's receipt. But when I am at 
home there are so many delicious occupations of the 
more active kind that it is as difficult to drag me to my 
writing-table, as to get a horse, broken loose from con- 
finement, to re-enter his stable door. I intended to have 
brought on the piece and left it with my friend Mr 
Madison [who is associated] with me in the wish to 
improve the state of our education. But in the hurry of 
my departure, I left it at home. You say you propose 
to get it translated. But I believe it impossible to trans- 

* See American State Papers, Military Affairs (1832), i, 153, and/oftrm, for 
references to the fortification of harbors during this period. We have not 
discovered the name of Bureaux de Pusy in connection with these engi- 
neering projects, but he may have acted in an advisory capacity. 

26 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

late your writings. It would be easier to translate 
Homer, which yet has never been done. 1 Several of us 
tried our hands on the memoir you gave me for the 
Philosophical society; but after trial, gave it up as 
desperate and determined to print it in French. At 
length our [election] seems to have a certain issue, 
notwithstanding the annihilation of the vote of Pennsyl- 
vania. 2 When will your affairs lead you to visit this 
place? You may probably find here, one friend more 
than at any preceding period. Salutations of respect 
& esteem to your good family, & to yourself [illegible] 
& happiness. Adieu 


1 Francis Walker Gilmer of Virginia is said to have translated the work 
on education some years later, but Du Pont in the last letter he wrote 
Jefferson bemoaned the fact that no translation had been made. Gilmer 's 
comments on Du Font's writing can be fully appreciated by the trans- 
lator and editor of these letters. He said Du Pont "writes the longest 
letters in French and in the worst hand I ever saw." See W. P. Trent, 
"English Culture in Virginia,'* Johns Hopkins University Studies in 
Hist, and Polit. Science, 7 Ser., pp. 228-30, Mr. Trent himself comments 
on the illegibility of these letters. 

a Owing to the fact that Pennsylvania in 1800 had a Federalist Senate 
and a Republican House, the electors of the state were divided between 
the two parties, 8 being Republican and 7 Federalist. Jefferson and his 
friends claimed with considerable justification that this compromise did 
not represent public opinion as expressed in the election returns. See 
Philadelphia Aurora, November 15, 17, 1800. See also, however, Edward 
Channingj History of the United States^ iv, 234-35. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 



GOOD-STAY, NEAR NEW YORK, December 17, 1800 
To Mr. Jefferson 

So you are at the head of your wise country. 1 She 
has unreservedly placed her greatest man in her great- 
est position. You have won the heart of every one. 

I ask God to bless your administration. 

And I am sure He will bless it. For he has given you 
Judgment, that light which glows in every man coming into 
this world, but which does not glow in all with equal 

You have La Fayete (sic] with you, 2 whose kindness, 
uprightness, and attachment to this country make a 
fellowship worthy of your lofty and patriotic soul. 

When my children, whom I have sent to Europe on 
business, have returned, I will go and settle in Alex- 
andria,* where I have bought a house, in order to be 
nearer to the enjoyment of your accomplishments. 

1 Du Pont's congratulations were premature. The Republican candi- 
dates, Jefferson and Burr, were victorious, but owing to the defective 
organization of the electoral machinery, received an equal vote. The 
House of Representatives, called upon to choose between them, did not 
elect Jefferson until February 17, 1801. 

3 Lafayette wrote Jefferson a letter of congratulation, June i, 1801. 
Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress. 

3 Apparently he never settled in Alexandria. 

28 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

One of my sons whom Lavoisier instructed for five 
years in the manufacture and handling of gunpowder 
and who is one of the best powder manufacturers in 
France, where the best powder in the world is made, 
will establish here an excellent factory for the manu- 
facture of this material which is indispensable to the 
defense of nations. 1 

The object of his trip to France is to bring back 
sundry machines of copper and bronze, which he could 
not get made here either as quickly or as well for thrice 
their cost, 

I make so bold as to assert that he will send bullets a 
fifth farther than English or Dutch bullets travel. 

And I beg you to keep this promise in mind and to 
make no contract for the powder for your arsenals be- 
fore making a comparative test of that which we will 
make with others. 

During your administration everything must and 
will be worthiest and best. And despite YOUR OUR 
extremely democratic principles, it will be said that in this 
respect JEFFERSON leans toward the aristocratic. Also 
is acting the sublime President of the universe. 

As a safeguard against the mails, I have kept a rough 

1 Eleuthere Irene*e du Pont had served an apprenticeship at Essonne 
under Lavoisier, the superintendent of the powder works and his father's 
friend. He began to construct his own works in 1802 after his return 
from France and sold powder in 1804. See article by Broadus Mitchell, 
in Dictionary of American Biography, vol. v (in press). 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 29 

draft of my book on National Education in the United 
States. And whether you get it or not I hope to be able 
to translate it into English this winter, with many a 
regret that this PATOIS, forceful but incorrect and un- 
philosophical, is the language of your country. 
My lasting and respectful affection. 


Pusy and Madame Du Pont bid me congratulate 
America through you on your accession to the Presi- 
dency. And I believe that Europe, the sciences, 
philosophy, and ethics deserve a share of the compli- 

My sons send their respects. K 

I desire my eldest who has '"thirteen years of residence, 
two children born in South Carolina (a state which is 
becoming quite dear to me), and an oath of allegiance 
to Virginia, to be fully naturalized as soon as possible, 1 

December 21 

My son to whom I gave this letter to mail returns it 
to me with yours of the twelfth. 

I am very glad that you enjoyed the pleasure which 
a runaway horse has. It will be a long time before you 
will have it again. You have been hitched to a wagon 
which loses none of its load. But Hercules bore the 

1 Victor du Pont. See note on Jefferson's letter of January 17, 1800, 
above. He served for a time as consul at Charleston. 

30 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

You are extremely polite concerning the difficulty of 
translating my letters. That will be good practice in 
English for me. Imagine that my bold ambition mounts 
to the point of hoping that you will have the kindness to 
correct my composition. 

NEW YORK, February 20, 1801 
To greatest Man 

in greatest place of the United States * 


You have never had but one Vice. I compliment 
your Country and both Hemispheres that you have at 
last lost it. 3 

Most respectfully yours 


NEW YORK, December 17, 1801 
His Excellency 

Thomas Jefferson 


Your message, 3 like all your thoughts and writings, is 
full of wisdom, judgment, illumination, and contains 
a divine moral. But although I respect your ijation, I 
fear that you are too big for her.* 

* Goolidge Collection, Mass. Hist. Society. See frontispiece and 
note I on letter of December 17, 1800, above. 

3 Jefferson probably did not receive another letter of congratulation 
in French and containing an English pun. 

s Jefferson's first annual message to Congress, December 8, 1801. See 
his Writings (Ford ed.)> vra, 108-55. 

4 The French is, "trop fort pour 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 31 

You congratulate her on her peace. This heavenly 
benediction seems to every inhabitant of your seaport 
cities a public calamity. 1 

You congratulate her on the Indians 5 becoming 
somewhat civilized: and on the increase, instead of the 
dwindling, of several of their tribes, due to their in- 
creased knowledge of agriculture. The inhabitants of 
your country districts regard wrongfully, it is true 
Indians and forests as natural enemies which must 
be exterminated by fire and sword and brandy, in order 
that they may seize their territory. 

They regard themselves, themselves and their pos- 
terity, as collateral heirs to all the magnificent por- 
tion of land which God has created from the Cumber- 
land and Ohio to the Pacific Ocean. 

And where, even in Europe or the United States, is 
there to be found a younger branch of a family which 
will rejoice in the increase in children of the elder 
branch which it wishes to succeed? 

You sound a warning that, by bettering the judiciary, 2 
a great saving ^public funds will be effected; you should 
have added "and private;" for the more judges there 
are, the more lawsuits there are, and these are among 
the heaviest burdens on a family. 

1 There was strong feeling against the French on the part of the 
commercial classes. 

a That is, by reducing the federal judiciary, one of the major ob- 
jectives of the Republican party. See A. J. Beveridge, Life of John 
Marshall (1919), m, chs. i, n. 

32 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

And almost all of your young college graduates with 
enough spirit to be unwilling to enter the ministry and 
with too little fortune or patience for the long period of 
study which a doctor needs, who moreover has not and 
does not deserve in America the consideration which 
he should enjoy, wish to be lawyers or judges, some- 
times both at the same time, pleading a case in one 
court, pronouncing sentence in another: a situation 
which has many inconveniences joined to a certain 
amount of ridicule. 

As to the priests, 1 there is no use of your saying a word 
to them and protecting their freedom; you are a philo- 
sopher; still, there is not a one of them in the world, of 
any belief, who is not your enemy. 

Thus you do, you propose, and you justly boast of 
real benefits which displease and will displease only 
your farmers, merchants, and men of letters. 2 

Against those citizens, what can the support of a 
foreigner like myself and of some dozen other thinkers 
scattered throughout the country avail? 

1 Du Pont uses the term "Pr&res." Jefferson himself generally re- 
ferred to the clergy as priests and regarded them as his implacable foes. 
On the other hand, the Unitarian Joseph Priestley was intimate with 
him and at this time he commanded strong support from the groups, in 
Virginia and elsewhere, who stood to gain from his advocacy of re- 
ligious freedom. 

a The meaning of this passage is not clear. Apparently Du Pont feels 
that the farmers will be displeased to hear of the improved condition 
of the Indians, alleged by Jefferson in his message, and that the mer- 
chants will be impatient with the peaceful conditions of which he boasts. 
There was nothing in Jefferson's message or policy, however, of which 
men of letters would disapprove. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 33 

Thus you will find thorns among your roses, your 
olives, and your laurels. 

However, persist. For Socrates and Cato and Con- 
fucius and Marcus Aurelius and my holy friend Turgot, 
to whom you have such a close affinity, would have per- 
sisted in your place. 

First, for a man like you, it is not a question of know- 
ing what will be said, but of clear seeing and well doing. 
And then, if your people seem hardly to notice you, 
they are tractable and in no way disposed to bother the 
government. There are still forty months of your ad- 
ministration and many probabilities that you will be 
re-elected. For it is one thing to see oneself generally 
applauded in speeches; another, to win elections. There 
is in the United States more than anywhere else silent 
common sense, a spirit of cold justice which, when it is 
a question of casting a vote, silences the chatter of the 
merely clever. 

And among these last even, a necessary hypocrisy does 
not permit them to show the depth of their hearts. They 
would not dare openly rise against peace. They would 
not dare say aloud to their neighbors or perhaps even 
to their wives that it would be good to kill the Indians. 

So shame and the times are in your favor. The re- 
duction of taxes, the kind of argument within the com- 
prehension of everybody, is in your favor. The sup- 
pression of the imposts for which it was so unfortunate 

?o Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

ing so nicely and you will not find it necessary to have 
further personal conferences with members of the 
House and Senate only ordinary correspondence 
I will give you an account of our ideas and just how we 
stand. That will be the purpose of another letter. 
. Bless you for making naturalization easier, for this 
country needs capital and brawn. 1 

In this respect your answer was priceless to those men 
who would refuse their contemporaries what waste 
lands and savages did not refuse their fathers. 

I also like your clever remark about the temptation 
to pile up treasures which would lead to other disastrous 
temptations and which might give birth to a war by 
preparing for it. 

Summon people again to turn their attention to the 
means of multiplying man and not of destroying him. 

With these maxims you will enchant one half of the 
human race, and finally the other half. 

It is impossible for a philosopher and statesman not 
to be a great writer. For he necessarily expresses with 
clarity those truths whose evidence strikes him, and 
with soundness those which interest the state which he 
governs and, as you say 3 sister states. 

My regards and respects 

x The Act of 1798, which rendered naturalization slower and was 
designed by the Federalists to prevent the addition of foreign votes to 
the Republicans, was repealed by the latter in 1802. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 37 

Madame Du Pont shares all my feelings about you 
and your work. Say a few words to Mr. Madison for me. 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 1802 
M. Dupont * 


It is rare I can indulge myself in the luxury of philo- 
sophy. Your letters give me a few of those delicious 
moments. Placed as you are in a great commercial 
town, with little opportunity of discovering the disposi- 
tions of the country portions of our citizens, I do not 
wonder at your doubts whether they will generally & 
sincerely concur in the sentiments and measures de- 
veloped in my message of the 7th Jany. 2 But from 4.0. 
years of intimate conversation with the agricultural in- 
habitants of my country, I can pronounce them as dif- 
ferent from those of the cities, as those of any two na- 
tions known. The sentiments of the former can in no 
degree be inferred from those of the latter. You have 
spoken a profound truth in these words, "Ily a dans Us 
etats unis un bon sens silencieux, un esprit de justice froide^ qui 
lorsqu'il est question d'emettre un VOTE couvre les bavardages de 
ceux qui font les habiles" 3 A plain country farmer has 

1 Published in Jefferson's Writings (Ford ed.), vm, 1125-27, note. 
This text, however, has been compared with the dim original in the 
Library of Congress and is published here with some slight corrections. 

a Probably a mistake for yth December. The message as transmitted to 
Congress was dated December 8. 

s See the foregoing letter from Du Pont, Jefferson does not repeat 
every word. In the Ford edition, "comme" is used for "couore" 

38 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

written lately a pamphlet on our public affairs. His 
testimony of the sense of the country is the best which 
can be produced of the justness of your observation. 
His words are "The tongue of man is not his whole 
body. So, in this case, the noisy part of the community 
was not all the body politic. During the career of fury 
and contention (in 1800) the sedate, grave part of the 
people were still; hearing all, and judging for them- 
selves, what method to take, when the constitutional 
time of action should come, the exercise of the right of 
suffrage. 35 * The majority of the present legislature are 
in unison with the agricultural part of our citizens, and 
you will see that there is nothing in the message, to 
which they do not accord* Some things may perhaps 
be left undone from motives of compromise for a time, 
and not to alarm by too sudden a reformation: but 
with a view to be resumed at another time. I am per- 
fectly satisfied the effect of the proceedings of this ses- 
sion of Congress will be to consolidate the great body 
of well-meaning citizens together, whether federal or 
republican, heretofore called. I do not mean" to include 
royalists or priests. Their opposition is immoveable. 
But they will be vox etpreterea nihil, leaders without fol- 
lowers. I am satisfied that within one year from this 
time were an election to take place between two candi- 
dates merely republican and federal, where no personal 

1 Pamphlet not yet discovered. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 39 

opposition existed against either, the federal candidate 
would not get the vote of a single elector in the U.S. I 
must here again appeal to the testimony of my farmer, 
who says "The great body of the people are one in 
sentiment. If the federal party and the republican 
party, should each of them choose a convention to 
frame a constitution of government or a code of laws, 
there would be no radical difference in the results of 
the two conventions. 5 * This is most true. The body of 
our people, tho 3 divided for a short time by an artificial 
panic, and called by different names, have ever had 
the same object in view, to wit, the maintenance of a 
federal, republican government, and have never ceased 
to be all federalists, all republicans: still excepting the 
noisy band of royalists inhabiting cities chiefly, and 
priests both of city and country. When I say that in an 
election between a republican and federal candidate, 
free from personal objection, the former would proba- 
bly get every vote, I must not be understood as placing 
myself in that view. It was my destiny to come to the 
government when it had for several years been com- 
mitted to a particular political sect, to the absolute and 
entire exclusion of those who were in sentiment with the 
body of the nation. I found the country entirely in the 
enemy's hands. It was necessary to dislodge some of 
them. Out of many thousands of officers in the U.S. 9. 
only have been removed for political principle, and 12, 

40 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

for delinquencies chiefly pecuniary. 1 The whole herd 
have squealed out, as if all their throats were cut. 
These acts of justice few as they have been, have raised 
great personal objections to me, of which a new char- 
acter would be [illegible]. 

When this government was first established, it was 
possible to have kept it going on true principles, but the 
contracted, English, half-lettered ideas of Hamilton, 
destroyed that hope in the bud. We can pay off his 
debt in 15. years: but we can never get rid of his finan- 
cial system. It mortifies me to be strengthening prin- 
ciples which I deem radically vicious, but this vice is 
entailed on us by a first error. In other parts of our 
government I hope we shall be able by degrees to intro- 
duce sound principles and make them habitual. What 
is practicable must often controul what is pure theory: 
and the habits of the governed determine in a great 
degree what is practicable. Hence the same original 
principles, modified in practice according to the dif- 
ferent habits of different nations, present governments 
of very different aspects. The same principles reduced 
to forms of practice accommodated to our habits, and 
put into forms accommodated to the habits of the 
French nation, would present governments very un- 
like each other. I have no doubt but that a great man, 

1 For a scholarly discussion of Jefferson's policy in regard to removals 
and appointments, see C. R. Fish, The Civil Service and the Patronage 
(1920), ch, 2. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 41 

thoroughly knowing the habits of France, might so 
accommodate to them the principles of free govern- 
ment, as to enable them to live free. But in the hands 
of those who have not this coup ffoeil, many unsuccessful 
experiments I fear are yet to be tried before they will 
settle down in freedom and tranquility. I applaud 
therefore your determination to remain here, where, 
tho 5 for yourself and the adults of your family the dis- 
similitude of our manners and the difference of tongue 
will be sources of real unhapiness, yet less so than the 
horrors and dangers which France would present to 
you. And as to those of your family still in infancy, 
they will be formed as to the circumstances of the 
country, and will, I doubt not be happier here than 
they could have been in Europe under any circum- 
stances. Be so good as to make my respectful saluta- 
tions acceptable to Made. Dupont, and all of your 
family and to be assured yourself of my constant and 
affectionate esteem. 

NEW YORK, February 20, 1802 
To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 

President of the American Philosophical Society* 
Member of the Institut National de France 
President of the United States 

About a month ago I received letters from the Insti- 

* Jefferson was President of this famous society, 1797-1815. His elec- 
tion to the Institute, if attributable to his position, was due to his presi- 
dency of the American Philosophical Society rather than to his presi- 
dency of the United States. 

2 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

tut, in which I was told: "We shall proceed immediately 
to the nomination of eighty foreign members. 1 Let us 
have the names of those men in the United States, 
whom you think ought to be proposed. 55 I replied im- 
mediately: "You will find few men in Europe, even for 
the other branches of learning, and none in the world 
for our class of morals and politics, who can be com- 
pared to President Jefferson. 55 

Now I learn from the newspapers that without wait- 
ing for my suggestion the Institut thought as I did, and 
It is precisely in our class of political and moral science 
that you have been placed. 2 

Permit me to congratulate myself and take pride in 
this new relationship with you. 

My regards and respects. 


Since the President of the United States is a member 
of the Institut National de France, he must use his in- 
fluence in doing a favor to one of his fellow-members, 

1 The law of 1795 provided for 24 assoctis etrangers. 

3 Jefferson was elected, December 265 1801, foreign associate in the 
class of moral and political sciences, to which Du Pont himself belonged. 
See Franqueville, Le Premier Siecle de F Institut de France, n, 55. Only Sir 
Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, preceded him on the list. 
Haydn, the composer, was chosen at the same time. No other American 
by both birth and residence was elected to the Institute during Jefferson's 
life. See Chinard, Jefferson et les Ideologues, pp. 20-21, for his acceptance 
of appointment. The class of moral and political sciences was abolished 
in 1803 and he passed to that of history and literature. In 1816, when 
there was another change in organization, he passed to V Academe des 
Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Memours 43 

the excellent sculptor Houdon. He left in the United 
States a very fine bust of Benjamin Franklin, which is 
just now at my home. This marble bust is worth a 
hundred louis of our money, about 480 dollars. 

Nothing is more suitable than for the nation to place 
it in your Capitol, either at the expense of the United 
States or at that of the City of Washington, or through 
the subscription of twenty-four people at twenty dollars 
each. And Houdon to whom Virginia still owes a 
thousand crowns toward the statue of Washington is in 
real need of money. 

I refer that to your kindness, to your position, and to 
your wisdom. 

NEW YORK, April 2, 1802 
To His Excellency 
Thomas Jefferson 

President of the United States 


I beg you to consent to my putting in your envelope 
a rather long memorandum which I have been bidden 
to transmit to Mr. Bushrood Washington, 1 and which 
concerns our friend La Fayette. 

I have already taken the liberty of sending you the 
letter which Minister Barbe-Marbois 3 wrote to General 

1 Bushrod Washington, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the 
United States. 

2 Francois Barb6 Marbois, Minister of the Public Treasury of France, 
who later negotiated the Louisiana Purchase. 

44 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

Davies and I know of no other way of getting it to him. 

You will .doubtless have the kindness to read it, as I 
asked you to do. And your friendship for La Fayette 
will surely interest you deeply in his situation. 1 

Your plenipotentiaries had given his friends hope 
that Congress would find it worthy of the United 
States to help this able and intrepid warrior, this hon- 
orable and intelligent mediator, this man of purity and 
virtue, who helped it. 

They had gone so far as to think that there might be 
given to him: 

$20,000 to pay what he owes to citizens of the United 

$20,000 in cattle of good stock and first class agricul- 
tural implements for stocking his farm; 

$20,000 in shares in the Bank of the United States; 


Are there any measures to take with regard to that? 

If there are not, who will arrange this? 

If measures are taken, will they have any success? 

This is what I am asking of your friendship. 

For you and your friends to lend your support is use- 
less for me to ask. You are already well enough dis- 
posed to the projects, yourself. 

* A considerable grant of land in Louisiana was afterwards made 
Lafayette by the United States, but he gained little or no benefit from 
it. On the occasion of his visit to America in 1824, he received a very 
handsome present in money. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 45 

The session is getting on. I should think there is not a 
moment to be lost by those who take this matter in 

My sincerest regards and deep affection. 


46 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 



WASHINGTON, Apr. 25, 1802 
M. Dupont de Nemours * 


The week being now closed during which you had 
given me a hope of seeing you here, I think it safe to in- 
close you my letters for Paris lest they should fail of the 
benefit of so desirable a conveyance. They are ad- 
dressed [to] Kosciuzko, Volney, Madame de Corny, 
Mr. Short, and Chancellor Livingston. You will per- 
ceive the unlimited confidence I repose in your good 
faith [and] in your cordial dispositions to serve both 
countries, when you observe that I leave the letter for 
Chancellor Livingston open for your perusal. 2 The 
first page respects a cypher, as do the loose sheets folded 
with the letter. These are interesting to him & myself 
only, and therefore are not for your perusal. It is the 
sd. 3d. & 4th. pages which I wish you to read to possess 
yourself of completely, and then seal the letter with 
wafers stuck under the flying seal that it may be seen 

1 Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial edL), x, 315-19. The above 
text, however, has been corrected from the press copy of the original. 

a Jefferson's letter of April i8 5 1802, to Robert R. Livingston, Minister 
to France, has been frequently cited in connection with the negotiations 
which led to the Louisiana Purchase. See his Writings (Ford ed.), vm, 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 47 

by no body else if any accident should happen to yon. 
I wish you to be possessed of the subject, because you 
may be able to impress on the government of France 
the inevitable consequences of their taking possession 
of Louisiana; x and tho 3 , as I here mention, the cession 
of N. Orleans & the Floridas to us would be palliative; 
yet I believe it would be no more; and that this measure 
will cost France, & perhaps not very long hence, a war 
which will annihilate her on the ocean, and place that 
element under the despotism of two nations, which I am 
not reconciled to the more because my own would be 
one of them. Add to this the exclusive appropriation 
of both continents of America as a consequence. I wish 
the present order of things to continue, and with a view 
to this I value highly a state of friendship between 
France & us. You know too well how sincere I have 
ever been in these dispositions to doubt them. You 
know too how much I value peace, and how unwillingly 
I should see any event take place which would render 
war a necessary resource; and that all our movements 
should change their character and object. I am thus 
open with you, because I trust that you will have it in 
your power to impress on that government considera- 
tions, in the scale against which the possession of 

1 By this time Jefferson had received relatively conclusive information 
that Louisiana had been retroceded by Spain to France. In his letter to 
Livingston he stated that from the moment the French took possession 
of New Orleans, "we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and 

48 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

Louisiana is nothing. In Europe, nothing but Europe 
is seen, or supposed to have any right in the affairs of 
nations. But this little event, of France's possessing 
herself of Louisiana, which is. thrown in as nothing, as 
a mere make-weight, in the general settlement of ac- 
counts, this speck which now appears as an almost in- 
visible point in the horizon, is the embryo of a tornado 
which will burst on the countries on both sides of the 
Atlantic and involve in it's effects their highest desti- 
nies. That it may yet be avoided is my sincere prayer, 
and if you can be the means of informing the wisdom 
of Buonaparte of all it's consequences, you [will] have 
deserved well of both countries. Peace and abstinence 
from European interferences are our objects, and so will 
continue while the present order of things in America 
remain uninterrupted. There is another service you 
can render. I am told that Talleyrand is personally 
hostile to us. This I suppose, has been occasioned by 
the XYZ history. 1 But he should consider that that 
was the artifice of a party, 2 willing to sacrifice him to 
the consolidation of their power: That this nation has 
done him justice by dismissing them; that those in 
power [now], are precisely those who disbelieved that 

1 Talleyrand was Minister of Foreign Affairs tinder the Directory and 
bore the odium of the improper proposals made to the American, com- 
missioners in 1798 and revealed to the American public in the "X.Y.Z. 
dispatches.'^ He was again in this office under Napoleon. Jefferson 
obviously wished to conciliate him. 

3 The Federalist party, in power until 1801. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 49 

story, and saw in it nothing but an attempt to deceive 
our country: that we entertain towards Mm personally 
the most friendly dispositions; that as to the govern- 
ment of France, we know too little of the state of things 
there, to understand what it is, and have no inclination 
to meddle in their settlement. Whatever government 
they establish, we wish to be well with it. 

One more request, that you deliver the letter to 
Chancellor Livingston with your own hands, and 
moreover that you charge Made. Dupont, if any ac- 
cident happens to you, that she deliver the letter with 
her own hands. If it passes thro 5 only her's and your's, 
I shall have perfect confidence in it's safety. Present 
her my most sincere respects, and accept yourself as- 
surances of my constant affection, and my prayers that 
a genial sky and propitious gales may place you after a 
pleasant voyage, in the midst of your friends. 


NEW YORK, April 26, 1802 
To His Excellency 
Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


Your kind letter adds to my worry, because I find it 
absolutely impossible to take ten days which would be 
necessary for the trip to Washington. 1 

1 He is referring, not to Jefferson's letter of April 25, which he had not 
yet received, but to another letter, not yet discovered, in which Jefferson 

50 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

I must leave before the calm begins, for I must get 
there, A tiny pebble placed in time or at the right 
spot to stop or deflect the course of a torrent. 

As to my understanding your letters, a word or 
even a half word to the wise is sufficient 

My heart, my reason, my principles, my love for both 
countries understand yours. 

I could be assured of your inviolable and courageous 
neutrality in case war should be renewed or already has 
been renewed. 1 

I think I can say that you are so well acquainted 
with the justice and advantages of commercial freedom 
that, provided wise and efficient means of payment be 
taken, abundant supplies can be found in your country. 

Must I not reject the too widespread notion that 
every remembrance of the former services rendered by 
France is effaced from the memory of America? 

The claim is made that you have had the notion to 
buy Louisiana, If there is anything true in this, I think 
this notion safe and acceptable. 

I have that of keeping for your nation the commer- 
cial freedom of Santo Domingo, at least for a fairly 
long time. 

apparently had invited him to Washington for conference. The letter 
of April 25 was written after Jefferson had concluded Du Pont was not 

1 War between France and Great Britain was renewed the following 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 51 

I shall see Chancellor Livingston. Perhaps I shall 
not be entirely useless to him with regard to the people 
with whom he is treating and through the knowledge 
which I have of the customs of the nation. 

I should have liked to know before leaving whether 
our dear friend La Fayette can hope for some honor- 
able and useful proof of affection from the United States. 

And another matter less important but still interesting 
to me, whether Houdon can hope that the superb bust 
of Franklin, the possession of which I have and which 
he has need to sell, will be placed in a room of the 

Do not look upon my trip as a retreat. You see its 
motive. I am leaving in America my two sons, their 
wives, and my grandchildren, and my whole fortune 
and every hope of repose for my old days. 

During my absence protect my children. The elder 
is a real American, a man of spirit and a good business 
man in every respect. The second has much knowledge, 
especially with regard to the useful arts. God has 
given him great courage and a republican heart. His 
gunpowder factory which will cost us more than four- 
teen thousand dollars will much improve this line of 
business in the United States, and will in good time be 
a means of wealth and power. 

My best regards to you, 


52 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

I am counting on leaving Philadelphia the fifth of 
May on the Benjamin Franklin. 
Be so kind as to address your letters to Philadelphia. 

NEW YORK, April 30, 1802 x 

To His Excellency 

Thomas Jefferson 
, President of the United States 


I received your letter and your dispatches. I have 
read the one with which you permitted me to make my- 
self acquainted. I will pass them on with care and I 
will support their contents with all my feeble might. 

I understand the entire importance of their subject. 
It is the principal purpose of my trip. A war which 
would deprive me of America's pleasant sanctuary, un- 
less I determined to renounce completely my native 
land, would be for me personally one of the greatest of 

But since a person succeeds better, the more enlight- 
ened he is, the more extended information he has, the 
greater means of making distinctions he has, and of 
making the proper emphasis in his suggestions and 
speeches, permit me to make several observations; 

1 The date of this letter is either April 20 or 30. Jefferson, who re- 
ceived it May 3, thought Du Pont had written April 20 by mistake. 
From internal evidence, it would appear that Afxril 30 is correct, as 
Jefferson thought, and that the letter is a reply to Jefferson's of April 25, 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 53 

permit me even to put before you at times the speech of 
those with whom I would have to deal; for to arrive at 
an agreement, it is necessary to foresee and weigh all 
that will be said on both sides. 

The basis of your reasoning is as follows: "Louisiana 
can be France's only until the first war comes. In this 
first war, our interest in owning her will put us on the 
offensive during hostilities. And the English with their 
navy standing in the way of France's bringing aid, our 
geographic position, the military force which we shall 
be able to employ will necessarily overcome any resist- 
ance offered by a distant country and inferior navy. 55 

A soldier will be able to understand easily that the 
weight of one column stretching from the district of 
Maine to the Mississipi [sic] must surely penetrate the 
front line, whatever it might be, which would be estab- 
lished along the banks of that river. 1 

But one day this soldier, whose ministers can pre- 

1 This paragraph and the two which follow have proved so difficult of 
translation that we cite the French, as best we could decipher it: 

<6 Un militaire pourra comprendre ais&nent que le poids tfune colonne 
qui va depuis le district de Maine jusqu'au Mississipi doit en effet percer 
[?] It front de bandiere, tel qu'il put tre, qu'on etablirait sur les rives de ce 

"Mais un jour ce militaire, dont les ministres ne peuvent conserver 
leurs places qu'en encensant perpetuellement Forqueil militaire, sera 
beaucoup plus offense que touche de cette raison. Et s'il n*y a qxi'elle 
en avant, nous pouvons regarder la n^gociation comme manquee. 

"Void, comme on lui parlera pour soutenir par des raisons politiques 
^irritation qu'aura excitee la menace, plus oil moins envelopee de pro- 
testations, de le deposseder malgre' lui." 

54 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

serve their positions only by perpetually flattering his 
military pride, will be much more irritated than im- 
pressed by that reason. And if that is the only one put 
forward, we may regard the business as having failed. 

This is what will be said to him to justify by political 
reasons the irritation which the threat of ousting him in 
spite of himself more or less disguised by protests 
will have aroused in him. 

"The United States/ 9 he will be told, "and even the 
President, betray an ambition of conquest which you 
must suppress. Louisiana in the hands of Spain did 
not make them uneasy because they do not consider 
Spain a first class power; and because they saw in this 
colony of the Mississipi only an inn for shelter and a 
storehouse necessary to the army by means of which 
they one day count on making the conquest of Mexico. 
But it is precisely to keep Mexico more securely that 
Spain let you have this colony. She wanted the power 
of the two nations to hold within proper bounds this 
spirit of invasion which the United States can no longer 
and will no longer dissimulate. You would fail your 
ally if you gave up the advance post entrusted to 
you. 35 

That your nation in general, Mr. President, and 
especially that the ambition of your nation, has its 
thoughts on the conquest of Mexico, is no longer 
doubtful. The generals, the officers, and even the 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 55 

soldiers will have much to gain. The army will be very 
easily recruited. 

But the United States, and especially a philosopher 
and Mend of mankind, and real friend of his country 
(such as is President Jefferson) will have much to lose. 

The victorious army will be corrupted forever. 
Those of its fighters who return into the interior will 
carry thither every crime, every vice. 

Those who remain in the conquered territory will 
make of it a redoubtable neighbor with whom it will be 
necessary for the United States to be in a perpetual 
state of war. 

If the victorious general founds a monarchy, it will 
certainly not become an ally of your republic. If you 
can found a republic there, you will try in vain to 
league it with yours. Already you see how much 
wisdom, prudence, tact, is needed to maintain the unity 
of your own states. What would this new republic be 
like, almost as powerful in herself alone as they are all 
together, much richer, whose center of power would be 
at such a great distance from the center of your union. 

Mexico in the hands of Spain can harm you in no 
way, and by business connections easy to establish can 
be of much service to you. Mexico aroused by revolu- 
tion and brought to the height of your civilization by 
your citizens who would live there, who would leave 
your territory for her and cease to better its condition, 

56 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

would be, one could imagine, most hostile to your 
peace, your liberty, and your prosperity. She would be 
harmful to you as a rival for power. She would be 
harmful to you by constantly enticing and taking 
away your population. 

It is not enough for you as President not to think 
this; you must persuade France and Spain that you 
have not thought it; you must uproot this from your 
nation, by showing it to what a dreadful consequence 
this fatal temptation would bring it. 

Therefore it is necessary to act with the greatest in- 
sistence so as to be able to assure an outlet for the 
products of those states along the Cumberland, the 
Wabash, the two banks of the Ohio, and the left bank 
of the Mississipi itself. 

But you will be told that this freedom in commerce, 
this certainty of an outlet, can be guaranteed you by a 
treaty with France as well as by a treaty with Spain: 
that this treaty maintained by mutual interests would 
be a pledge of lasting friendship instead of a source of 
quarrels between the two nations; and that finally if it 
were violated by the French, you would always find 
again, but with more dignity and justice, the expedient 
of territorial control over a weak and isolated colony 
which your friends, the English, would keep from being 

It will be asked why this uneasiness about the French 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 57 

who are quite disposed to leave you the ports of the 
Mississipi open with small customs and duties which 
could be determined by a commercial treaty, while the 
English, more jealous and disdainful, do not seem to 
bother or displease you in Canada, although they re- 
fuse you an outlet through the St. Lawrence, which 
would be almost as natural as one through the Missis- 
sipi, an outlet which two canals, one at Niagara, the 
other starting at the Monongahela and costing not even 
two million dollars, would give, of the greatest import- 
ance to your western states already existing and to exist. 

It will be said that these feelings so peaceful toward 
the English, so hostile and already so pregnant with 
threats to the French, who are returning into the pos- 
session of one of their former inheritances, of which a 
part, and the finest part too, has already been ceded to 
you by Spain x and which will not be contested by 
them, exhibit a partiality toward England, at which 
the French nation and government must be shocked 
and as uneasy as you seem to be yourselves. 

It will be said, and certainly on this point it will be 
rightly said, that if the English are angling for you with 
the bait of a passing alliance to despoil Spain, and are 
flattering you by letting you become the second sea 
power, they are deceiving you and your trust in them 

1 Perhaps referring to the land assured the United States by the 
Treaty of San Lorenzo, 1795, which fixed the southern boundary at the 
3 ist parallel. 

58 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

deceives you. The English hate and will always hate 
second- and even third-rate sea powers. They would 
make you suffer bitterly, if you attained that honor 
which is more costly than useful. Their actual and 
fancied persecutions would then cause an alliance with 
France and all the blood spilled in the meantime would 
be lost. 

Only France wishes you to be a sea power. Only 
England fears it. 

This being granted, it will be agreed that you have 
no need of New Orleans and the mouth of the Missis- 
sipi except for the free and lasting passage for the pro- 
ducts of your western states, and a commercial treaty 
suffices to assure you of them and of the passage of 
your vessels. What answer can be returned to that? 

However, you prefer a treaty which gives you land 
rather than a treaty which would guarantee you rights. 
And I do not deny that, first, it would be better for you, 
and second, that it would be of small importance to 

But we must begin by agreeing on one point; 
namely, that the United States will never show any 
new desire with regard to the right bank of the river; 
that its use will be equal and common to the two na- 
tions; and that the middle of the stream will be the 
boundary between the two states. For it is really to the 
interest of the three peoples, and to that of the world, 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 59 

that the might of France and Spain unite to discourage 
the temptation which the United States might have 
some day to conquer Mexico. 

With this point agreed on, it is desirable to know 
what are your means of persuasion to obtain the ar- 
rangement you desire. To say: "Give us this country; 
if you do not we will take it 53 is not at all persuasive. 
"We will defend it/ 5 is the first answer in every man's 
mouth. "We will prevent you/' might be tacitly added 
as a second reply in ordinary politics. And every mis- 
fortune which we wish to prevent would take place. 

You wish the surrender of a piece of land which 
France legitimately owns. Were you to say: "Give us 
that part of Louisiana which we like, give us the 
Floridas, and we will induce the English to give you 
Canada/ 5 were you to say at least, "We assume the en- 
gagement at the first war to help to return Canada to 
your possession/ 5 that would be some sort of proposi- 
tion, that would be definite talk and I would dare 
to guarantee you that France would give you through 
her Canada every freedom of business, every outlet 
which the English refuse to give you, 

But perhaps the first point is beyond your influence 
over England. Perhaps also you would not want to as- 
sume the definite engagement of the second, although 
you seem already ready to unite with the Englisl 
against us in the matter of Louisiana, 

60 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

Where then are your means of acquisition and of 
persuading France to a friendly surrendering of her 

Alas! Mr. President, the freedom of conventions, the 
natural taste of all peoples, of all individuals, for riches, 
and the poverty with which all great powers are con- 
stantly threatened, which only powers of the second 
rank escape, leave you only one means when you have 
nothing of like sort to offer in exchange. That means 
is acquisition, it is the payment of money. 

Calculate what that very slight armament cost you, 
which you made three years ago. Consider what the 
most fortunate war with France and Spain would cost 
you. And contract for a part a half, let us say. The 
two countries will have made a good bargain. You will 
have Louisiana and probably the Floridas for the least 
possible expense; and this conquest will be neither 
[animated] by hatred nor sullied by human blood. 

France will ask you the most possible, you will offer 
the least possible. But offer her enough to make her 
make up her mind before she takes possession. For the 
interests of governors, of prefects, and of business 
companies would become powerful obstacles. These 
treaties must be quickly made; the longer you bargain 
and the worse the bargain you make, the more com- 
plete would the break be. 

Please be so kind as to write to me in New York about 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 61 

this. I am certain not to leave before the tenth of May 
and I may stay several days longer, depending on wind 
and business. If I am compelled to leave before re- 
ceiving your letter,, my son would send it back to you 
and you could ask Chancellor Livingston to let me 
know your mind on the matter. 

Count on my unfaltering enthusiasm, on my un- 
changing attachment, on my gratitude for your friend- 
ship, and on my affectionate and profound respect. 


NEW YOR3> M^ 12, 1802 

To His Excellency 

Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


I receive your letters on time and with great pleas- 
ure. You add much to my gratitude, nothing to my 
zeal, which could not increase, and little to my means 
of action. 

You give me your motives, your reasons, your deduc- 
tions, your forethoughts; I have them in my head and 
heart. The facilities must be increased and hastened. 
The determining features must be promptly presented 
to a young court \Jeune cour] in a position similar to that 
with which you have to deal. 

It is certain that if you foresee the misunderstanding, 
the war, and their grievous results, they must be 

6s Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

vented by a kind of subscription which will procure you 
what you wish and which will always be a great 
economy. For the most fortunate war, not to mention 
the calamities which are inseparable from it and the 
kind of subordination in which it will place you relative 
to England, will necessarily cost your treasury four times 
the largest sum at which may be valued a harmonious 
arrangement and reciprocal good will. It will cost ten 
times more in so far as your commerce, agriculture, 
and nation are concerned. 

I know the condition of your finances. I know that it is 
bad and quite impossible for you to change. But for your 
actual needs in time of peace they are quite sufficient. 

You can pay your debts in less than fifteen years. 
When, to acquire New Orleans and the Floridas and 
to do so without war, you should extend this period by 
three or four years, you would have made an excellent 
bargain, even from a pecuniary point of view. 

New Orleans will always be the de facto capital of the 
two Louisianas; because it is a city already entirely 
built and the other has to be built, because there are 
shops and wharves already constructed, and because 
French is spoken there so that the French people will 
always be remembered. It will be to the advantage of 
New Orleans to cultivate the other bank of the river. 

The Floridas are not worth cultivating by the plough 
or for grain. But to raise sheep, vicugnas, horses, and 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 63 

mules, they can be a valuable piece of land. Arabia 
where the finest horses in the world are, resembles the 
Floridas in land and climate. And the Floridas have a 
great advantage over Arabia: this is that they are cov- 
ered with better building woods and do not lack rivers 
to facilitate their exploitation and distribution. A wise 
government like yours, which in its leases could take 
measures to keep these woods from being entirely de- 
stroyed and to enable them to become renewed while 
cutting down a part, would find there for its people and 
for itself a constant source of great wealth. 

There is in all this food for thought. And since this 
country suits you, it is my earnest advice that you 
place a good estimate on it, even a liberal and generous 
one, one, as I said, calculated to impress a court. In 
such a case, too great economy is an expense; and a 
purchase thus missed becomes next a purchase quite 
burdensome. The amount offered and accepted will 
preclude in no way, in whole or in part, the equivalent 
of that sum owed by France by reason of the treaty. 

Agreement as to the price is the main thing. To ar- 
range the manner of payment and to figure on this 
payment the amounts deductible by law is a minor 
matter which would straighten itself out. 

The rest of your instructions are easy to follow and 
will be followed exactly. 

To show you full and fair justice, kind treatment, 

64 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

good payment for the supplies furnished by your 
citizens at Santo Domingo r is one of the objects which 
I have assumed as a duty. 

It is quite possible that General LeClerc 2 has found 
some trace and proof of a secret treaty and agree- 
ments more or less specific which took place between 
the ministers of your predecessors and Toussaint 
POuverture; 3 and that there must be sought the use 
(taken advantage of in the case of Mr. Lear) of the 
right stipulated in the treaty of dismissing consuls 
without explanation: 4 a right which your plenipoten- 
tiaries asked and France was unwilling to grant. The 
justifiably bad humor he was in with regard to this 
matter, the supplies of arms negotiated for by General 
Maitland s for Toussaint, realized by the United 

* The seizure of American property by the French in Santo Domingo 
was a serious cause of American discontent and distrust at the time. 

2 The husband of Pauline Bonaparte and commander of the French 
expedition to Santo Domingo. Subsequent to the date of this letter, he 
got possession of Toussaint 1'Ouverture, the extraordinary negro leader 
of the revolt against French rule, and sent him to Europe to die. He 
himself died of yellow fever in November, 1802. For the revolt and the 
important part it played in the whole matter of the Louisiana negotia- 
tions, see Henry Adams, History of the United States (1889), chs. xv, xvi. 

s Such secret arrangements were indeed made during the period of 
quasi-warfare between the United States and France, 1798-1800. 
American supplies, procured by Toussaint, contributed greatly to his 
temporary success. Ibid.) i, 385-86. 

4 Tobias Lear, appointed Consul-General to Santo Domingo by 
Jefferson, was ordered by Leclerc to quit the island. 

5 British representative in Santo Domingo who negotiated a secret 
treaty with Toussaint in 1799, to which the United States was in effect a 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 65 

States, used against our army, these things will possibly 
account for the manner in which several Americans 
were treated. I do not doubt that the ill-feeling caused 
by this passed across to France and that I shall find it 
rather bitter. But I shall freely answer that since these 
wrongs were committed by the government preceding 
yours, they can not be imputed to you. You certainly 
do not reproach our present government with those of 
the Directory. 

To secure for the citizens of the United States the 
business of Santo Domingo, of Guadaloupe, and of 
Guiana is another point entirely in accord with my 
political views, because it is to the mutual advantage 
of both nations, although quite in opposition to the 
prejudices of our merchants and to the views of the 
business concerns of Paris. But I hope for its success, 
because Bonaparte is a man of genius and a character 
much above ordinary ideas. 

But enough about public matters. 

What you tell me relative to La Fayette disappoints 
me keenly. 1 No man has nobler and purer qualities. 
How could one possibly reproach him with being faith- 
ful to the constitution which he had sworn to defend? 
That constitution, although quite republican, was not, 
it is true, as republican as he and I had desired, had 
proposed, but we had given it our oath. I as well as he 

1 Presumably Jefferson had stated some of the arguments advanced 
against the making of a grant to Lafayette. 

66 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

fought with pen and sword to uphold it as long as the 
nation did not adopt another; and I do not consider 
myself open to censure. The handful of brigands of the 
tenth of August was not the People; it was not even a 
hundredth part of the population of Paris. That revo- 
lution occurred despite the Legislature, despite the na- 
tion, and especially despite good citizens. 

Besides, here it is not a question of our revolution 
but of yours and your liberty. It is that which cost La 
Fayette seven years of his life and a hundred thousand 
francs of his fortune. 

Although your young men can have neither a clear 
idea nor a distinct remembrance of his services, there 
must be several well enough disposed to honor him by 
proposing to the Majesty of the United States to in- 
demnify a clear-sighted patriot, an illustrious warrior, 
who served them well and freely, and to reimburse him 
in his misfortune by about half of what he spent for 
them in his days of wealth. 

Your plenipotentiaries had made his friends hope so. 
They had even indicated in what way it was to be 
given: twenty thousand dollars in cattle of fine breed 
and good farm instruments with which to stock his 
farm, twenty thousand in money with which to pay his 
most pressing debts, the most of which are owed to 
citizens of America, and twenty thousand dollars in 
shares in the Bank of the United States. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 67 

I know that it is not fitting for you to propose that, 
but nothing prevents your suggesting it, or having it 
suggested cleverly by some young member of the House 
of Representatives, who has love for American justice, 
dignity, and glory. 

Must it be given up? I would grieve more for your na- 
tion than for La Fayette who has not even an idea of 
what his friends are trying to do for him on this occasion. 

I see that Houdon will be less unhappy. I thank you* 
Do not forget him. It is my son Victor to whom I am 
leaving in New York the power of attorney which M. 
Houdon had given to me and to whom the money 
which is due him and which will be due him will have 
to be turned over. 

I thank you for my children. It is near Wilmington, 
Delaware, on the Brandy-Wine, that we have finally 
decided to establish our powder factory. We are quite 
close to Philadelphia where we get your saltpeter re- 
fined. Once refined, you will keep it without waste 
and, at your first order, you will be able to get made 
with the greatest speed powder superior in power to 
the best in Europe, But, my excellent friend, do not 
burn it against us. Sell it rather in our colonies. 

Regards and good wishes, 

I did not leave on the Franklin. I leave from New 
York on the Virginia Packet. 

68 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

PARIS, October 4, 1802 T 

To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson, 
President of the United States 


Our negotiations have not had the success which I 
should have wished for them. However, I am far from 
believing them in as bad a way as Chancellor Living- 
ston appears to think, who is quite irritated at not re- 
ceiving any positive replies in writing, for the verbal 
ones are good. 

There can be no doubt that your treaties with Spain 
relative to the boundaries of the two states, commerce, 
and the navigation of the Mississipi (sic), will be re- 
spected, confirmed, and renewed. 

It is certain that it is to the interest of France for the 
commerce of the United States to enjoy every right and 
even every favor in New Orleans; and that the admin- 
istrators sent there are convinced of the truth of this, for 
they seem disposed to act accordingly. 

There is no doubt, furthermore, that if the fact were 
true (and it is quite improbable) that the English were 
more favored in Santo Domingo than the Americans, it 
was quite contrary to the most strongly pronounced 
intentions of the French Government, which gives in 
this matter, as in all other matters of business, the most 
absolute preference to the Americans over the English. 

1 By August 1 6, 1802, Du Pont was in Paris. On that date he wrote 
Jefferson a letter, which has not yet been located* 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 69 

As to New Orleans and the Floridas, it appears that 
there is the desire to take possession before entering 
upon any negotiations. But, after these preliminaries 
are fulfilled, there is no obstacle to our entering upon 

If it became me to advise the two powers on this 
matter, attached as I am to both by every sort of duty, 
and believing that I have carefully thought out their 
respective interests, I should propose what you will find 
on the next page. 


France will cede to the United States New Orleans 
and the two Floridas, on the condition that the French 
and their vessels will be able to conduct their business 
as freely as the citizens and vessels of the United 
States, and without paying any duties. 


The United States agrees to allow no other nation to 
share these advantages, which is a special condition of 
the cession, and agrees to maintain over the commerce 
of other nations in this new acquisition which could 
not be included in the agreements of any former treaty 
the principles and collection of tariffs already estab- 
lished in the American customs. 

yo Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 


France reserves for herself absolutely all other terri- 
tory adjacent to Louisiana, situated on the right bank 
of the MississipL 1 


The United States will pay to France, as the price of 
the cession mentioned in Article I, six million dollars. 2 

If you are willing to go this far, whatever may be the 
present feelings and the effect of the prejudices 
without foundation, I believe engendered by the 
Santo Domingo affair, where it was believed that your 
nation was more favorable to the blacks than to the 
whites, 3 1 do not despair of success. And it is certainly 
better than the danger of casting back your people, so 
justly proud of their independence, under the claws of 
the British leopard and of making yourselves instru- 
ments of the power or vengeance of your former op- 
pressors, who will never be to you but false, deceitful, 
and disdainful friends. 

You see, Mr. President, that I speak to you with the 
freedom of a man whom you honor with your friend- 

1 Note that Du Pont, up to this point, has discussed and favored the 
cession of New Orleans and East and West Florida, not Louisiana. 

3 The total price paid for all of Louisiana was fifteen millions. 

s That is, to the revolutionists rather than the French. See notes on 
previous letter. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Memours 71 

ship. It is infinitely dear to me. It is by real favors that 
I wish to deserve its continuation. 

With this in mind, I have thought of making in Paris 
the payments of those funds which the United States 
may owe to certain Frenchmen, as a means of still 
further raising your credit and of announcing the 
kindly feeling, the spirit of intercourse and ties which I 
think likely to favor your negotiations. 

With regard to this matter, my son will explain all 
my ideas. I have none which is not to the reciprocal 
advantage of both nations; and what I can find person- 
ally agreeable and useful is not an objection in your 
eyes [pour votre coeur] . 

Allow me to impose upon your kindness in behalf of 
La Fayette who has been reduced to two hundred dollars 
income and who owes seventy-five thousand In the 
United States for which he spent more than a hundred 
and fifty thousand of his former fortune. 

By paying his debts, your country will not reimburse 
him by a half of the amount which its liberty cost him, 
and it will pay almost no money except in the country 
Itself and to its own citizens. 

I send you my best wishes and deepest regards. 


72 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

WASHINGTON, Feb i, 1803 
Af. Dupont * 


I have to acknolege the receipt of your favors of Aug. 
1 6 2 and Oct. 4. And the latter I received with peculiar 
satisfaction; because while it holds up terms which 
cannot be entirely yielded, it proposes such as a mutual 
spirit of accommodation and sacrifice of opinion, may 
bring to some point of union. While we were preparing 
on this subject such modifications of the propositions 
of your letter of Oct. 4. as we could assent to, an event 
happened which obliged us to adopt measures of ur- 
gency. The suspension of the right of deposit at New 
Orleans, ceded to us by our treaty with Spain, threw 
our whole country into such a ferment as imminently 
threatened it's peace. This however was believed to be 
the act of the Intendant, unauthorized by his govern- 
ment. But it showed the necessity of making effectual 
arrangements to secure the peace of the two countries 
against the indiscreet acts of subordinate agents. The 
urgency of the case, as well as the public spirit therefore 
induced us to make a more solemn appeal to the justice 
and judgment of our neighbors, by sending a minister 
extraordinary to impress them with the necessity of 

1 Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Ford ed.), vra, 203-08. This letter 
was sent by Monroe and left open for Livingston's perusal before being 
delivered. See Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.), x, 354. 

2 Letter not discovered. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 73 

some arrangement. Mr. Monroe has been selected. 
His good dispositions cannot be doubted. Multiplied 
conversations with him, and views of the subject taken 
In all the shapes In which it can present itself, have 
possessed him with our estimates of every thing relating 
to it, with a minuteness which no written communica- 
tion to Mr. Livingston could ever have attained. These 
will prepare them to meet and decide on every form 
of proposition which can occur, without awaiting new 
instructions from hence, which might draw to an in- 
definite length a discussion where circumstances im- 
periously oblige us to a prompt decision. For the oc- 
clusion of the Mississippi is a state of things In which 
we cannot exist. He goes, therefore, joined with 
Chancellor Livingston, to aid in the issue of a crisis the 
most important the U.S. have ever met since their inde- 
pendence & which is to decide their future character 
& career. The confidence which the government of 
France reposes in you will undoubtedly give great 
weight to your information. An equal confidence on 
our part, founded on your knoledge of the subject, your 
just views of it, your good dispositions towards this 
country, and my long experience of your personal faith 
and friendship, assures me that you will render between 
us all the good offices in your power. The interests of 
the two countries being absolutely the same as to this 
matter, your aid may be conscientiously given. It will 

74 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

often perhaps be possible for you, having a freedom of 
communication, omnibus horis, which diplomatic gentle- 
men will be excluded from by forms, to smooth diffi- 
culties by representations & reasonings which would 
be received with more suspicion from them. You will 
thereby render great good to both countries. For our 
circumstances are so imperious as to admit of no delay 
as to our course; and the use of the Mississippi so indis- 
pensable, that we cannot hesitate one moment to haz- 
ard our existence for it's maintenance. If we fail in 
this effort to put it beyond the reach of accident, we see 
the destinies we have to run, and prepare at once for 
them. Not but that we shall still endeavor to go on in 
peace and friendship with our neighbors as long as we 
can, if our rights of navigation & deposit are respected; but as 
we foresee that the caprices of the local officers, and the 
abuse of those rights by our boatmen & navigators, 
which neither government can prevent, will keep up a 
state of irritation, which cannot long be kept inactive, 
we should be criminally improvident not to take at 
once eventual measures for strengthening ourselves for 
the contest. It may be said, if this object be so all- 
important to us, why do we not offer such a sum as 
would insure its purchase? The answer is simple. 
We are an agricultural people, poor in money, and 
owing great debts. These will be falling due by instal- 
ments for 15. years to come, and require from us the 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 75 

practice of a rigorous economy to accomplish their 
paiment: and it is our principle to pay to a moment 
whatever we have engaged, and never to engage what 
we cannot, and mean not faithfully to pay. We have 
calculated our resources and find the sum to be 
moderate which they would enable us to pay, and we 
know from late trials that little can be added to It by 
borrowing. The country too which we wish to pur- 
chase, except the portion already granted, and which 
must be confirmed to the private holders, is a barren 
sand 600. miles from East to West & from 30. to 
40. & 50. miles from North to South, formed by deposi- 
tion of the sands by the gulph stream in it's circular 
course round the Mexican gulph, and which being 
spent after performing a semicircle, has made from its 
last depositions the sand bank of East Florida. In 
West Florida indeed, there are on the borders of the 
rivers some rich bottoms, formed by the mud brought 
from the upper country. These bottoms are all pos- 
sessed by individuals. But the spaces between river and 
river are mere banks of sand: and in East Florida there 
are neither rivers nor consequently any bottoms. We 
cannot then make any thing by a sale of the lands to 
individuals. So that it is peace alone which makes it 
an object with us, and which ought to make the 
session of it desirable to France. Whatever power, 
other than ourselves, holds the country east of the 

76 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

Mississippi becomes our natural enemy. Will such a 
possession do France as much good, as such an enemy 
may do her harm? And how long would it be hers, 
were such an enemy, situated at its door, added to 
G. Britain? I confess, it appears to me as essential to 
France to keep at peace with us, as it is to us to keep at 
peace with her: and that if this cannot be secured 
without some compromise as to the territory in ques- 
tion, it will be useful for both to make some sacrifice 
to effect the compromise. 

You see, my good friend, with what frankness I com- 
municate with you on this subject, that I hide nothing 
from you, and that I am endeavoring to turn our 
private friendship to the good of our respective coun- 
tries. And can private friendship ever answer a nobler 
end than by keeping two nations at peace, who, if this 
new position which one of them is taking, were ren- 
dered innocent, have more points of common interest, 
and fewer of collision, than any two on earth; who 
become natural friends, instead of natural enemies, 
which this change of position would make them. My 
letters of Apr. 25. May 5. and this present one have 
been written, without any disguise, in this view; and 
while safe in your hands they can never do anything 
but good. But you and I are now at that time of life 
when our call to another state of being cannot be dis- 
tant, and may be near. Besides, your government is 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 77 

In the habit of seizing papers without notice. These 
letters might thus get into hands, which like the hornet 
which extracts poison from the same flower that yields 
honey to the bee, might make them the ground of 
blowing up a flame between our two countries, and 
make our friendship and confidence in each other 
effect exactly the reverse of what we are aiming at. 
Being yourself thoroughly possessed of every idea in 
them, let me ask from your friendship an immediate 
consignment of them to the flames. That alone can 
make all safe and ourselves secure, 

I intended to have answered you here, on the subject 
of your agency in transacting what money matters we 
may have at Paris, and for that purpose meant to have 
conferred with Mr. Gallatin. 1 But he has, for 2. or 3. 
days, been confined to his room, and is not yet able 
to do business. If he is out before Mr. Monroe's 
departure, I will write an additional letter on that 
subject. Be assured that it will be a great additional 
satisfaction to me to render services to yourself & sons 
by the same acts which shall at the same time promote 
the public service. Be so good as to present my respect- 
ful salutations to Made. Dupont, & to accept yourself 
assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship 
and great respect. 


* Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury. 

78 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

WASHINGTON, November i, 1803 
M. Dupont de Nemours * 


Your favors of Apr. 6. & June 27. were duly re- 
ceived/ & with the welcome which every thing brings 
from you. The treaty which has so happily sealed the 
friendship of our two countries has been received here 
with general acclamation. Some inflexible federalists 
have still ventured to brave the public opinion. It will 
fix their character with the world & with posterity, 
who not descending to the other points of difference 
between us, will judge them by this fact, so palpable 
as to speak for itself in all times & places. For myself 
and my country I thank you for the aids you have 
given it, 3 & I congratulate you on having lived to give 
those aids in a transaction replete with blessings to 
unborn millions of men, & which will mark the face of 
a portion on the globe so extensive as that which now 
composes the United States of America. It is true 
that at this moment a little cloud hovers in the horizon. 
The government of Spain has protested against the 
right of France to transfer, & it is possible she may 
refuse possession, & that this may bring on acts of 

1 Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.), x, 422-24. 

a These letters we have been unable to discover. 

s Monroe wrote Jefferson, September 20, 1803, that he had earlier had 
doubts as to the value of the latter 's correspondence with "certain 
characters" in France, but had concluded that "on the whole it was 
useful." He named Du Pont among others. Writings (S. M. Hamilton, 
caL, 1900), iv, 75-76. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 79 

force. But against such neighbors as France there, and 
the United States here what she can expect from so 
gross a compound of folly and false faith, is not to be 
sought in the book of wisdom. She is afraid of her 
enemies in Mexico. But not more than we are. Our 
policy will be to form New Orleans, & the country on 
both sides of it on the Gulf of Mexico, into a State; 
& as to all above that, to transplant our Indians into 
it, constituting them a Marechaussee to prevent emi- 
grants crossing the river, until we shall have filled up 
all the vacant country on this side. This will secure 
both Spain & us as to the mines of Mexico for half a 
century, and we may safely trust the provisions for that 
time to the men who shall live in it. 

I have communicated with Mr. Gallatin on the 
subject of using your house in any matters of conse- 
quence we may have to do at Paris. He is impressed 
with the same desire I feel to give this mark of our 
confidence in you, and the sense we entertain of your 
friendship & fidelity. Mr. Behring informs him that 
none of the money which will be due from us to him 
as the assignee of France will be wanting at Paris. Be 
assured that our dispositions are such as to let no 
occasion pass unimproved of serving you, where occur- 
rences will permit it. Present my respects to Mde, 
Dupont, and accept yourself assurances of my constant 
and warm friendship. TH: J EFFERSO N 

8o Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 



PARIS, 12 Messidor, Tear xn, July i> 1804 
To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


It seems useless for me to tell you how grieved I am 
that I am not yet able to return to you and the republic 
governed by your principles and wisdom, 

But look upon Europe and my country, and what is 
happening to them. You know my feelings, my heart, 
my studies, my labors, and the philosophical hopes 
which have occupied my life. 

I wish to give its last moments to the development of 
those institutionsj my ideas of which you have been so 
good as to request of me in my outline on the education 
of the youth of America. 

And perhaps, if that should seem useful to you, I 
would make an effort to contribute to the consolidation 
of the harmony between your old confederated states 
and the new nation which you have just admitted 
among them. 

It is the only part of the United States whose lan- 
guage I know well; and not only that which is spoken, 
written, and taught in grammars, but that which is 

82 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

You have promised me your support and protection 
for my fine gunpowder factory which has no equal 
in the two worlds. 

Have you given it your saltpetre to refine and your 
gunpowder to [rebattre], 

I beg your Excellency not to forget that it is a useful 
establishment which the zeal of my children created 
and which is conducted by my second son, the best 
pupil of the greatest chemist in Europe, and that it 
belongs to your friend. 

Receive with your usual kindness my cordial 



PARIS, May 12, 1805 
To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


Your natural seriousness does not perhaps allow you 
to take as much pleasure in the medal awarded you 
by our Agricultural Society as I took in the homage 
rendered to the Philosopher-Statesman of your country 
by the planters of mine. 1 

* In 1805, the Society of Agriculture of the Department of the Seine 
awarded gold medals to men who had effected improvements in the 
plough. One of these went to Jefferson for the mouldboard "of least 
resistance" which he had designed several years before. It is described 
in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, rv (1799), No. 
xxxvm, and in the Annales du Museum national d'histoire naturelle (1802), i, 
322-331. For the awards, see Memoins, Societe d'agriculture, Dept. 
Seine, vn, xlix-lviii 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 83 

I often experience childhood joys, but on this occa- 
sion I experienced a more mature one, because it was 
a civic feeling which included my two countries, as 
well as my love for the two sciences of government and 

Both of them urge me to submit to you an idea which 
I think useful in bringing to an end the manifold litiga- 
tions which exist in several of the United States and 
especially in Kentucky, concerning the ownership of 
land. 1 . . . 

Accept my thanks for the trial I have given your 
patience and the expression of my deepest respect. 


PARIS 21 Fructidor 13 (Sept. 8, 1805) 
To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


Since the departure of Mr. Skipwith 2 gives me a 
definite opportunity to write to your Excellency, I take 
the liberty of joining to this letter the copies of those 
which I had the honor of sending to you on May 21 [12] 
and August 27 [28]. 

1 The lengthy discussion of the problem of land-titles which follows 
need not be reproduced here. Du Pont himself had 56,000 acres in 
Kentucky, representing an original subscription to his company, and was 
personally aware of the extensive litigation resulting from the overlapping 
of grants. He advocated a general survey at the expense of the claimants 
and such a reduction in claims as would be warranted after the ratio 
between the land actually available in a given district and that which 
had been granted had been ascertained. 

* Fulwar Skipwith, American Commercial Agent at Paris. > 

84 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

The first of these letters outlines an idea which, I 
believe, may deserve your approval; namely, the idea 
for bringing to a close the litigation existing in Ken- 
tucky and other states, relative to the land-grants 
which overlap and the sum total of which exceeds th * 
physical extent of the district in which these grar/ts 
have been made. 

The other r gives you an account of the error com- 
mitted by Mr. Armstrong in the matter, important in 
itself, of the vessel, the New Jersey; in which Mr. Arm- 
strong, who had no right to interfere, has, by his preju- 
dices and his unjust obstinacy and by exceeding his 
powers, deprived his fellow citizens of nearly one hun- 
dred and sixty thousand dollars which the French 
courts had ordered restored to them and which the 
French minister would have had paid but for the in- 
comprehensible opposition of the American minister. 

This error is much more important than it seems to 
be, since it is not confined to the particular matter in 
which he has unjustly caused so great embarrassment, 
but since he has assumed on diplomatic grounds that 
the United States had no claim to make and intended 
to make no claim for the unjustifiable capture of its 
vessels, when these vessels had been insured in the 

1 Not printed in this volume. Gen. John Armstrong was American 
Minister to France, 1804-10. Any one interested in the case of the New 
Jersey can find papers relative to it, some of which contain references to 
Du Pont, in Amer. State Papers, Foreign Relations^ n (1832), 774-75. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 85 

United States: which would leave to the French and 
English every liberty to violate your flag and to make 
away arbitrarily, on the high sea, with American goods 
which are never shipped without insuring them. 

I think it indispensable for the honor and interest of 
your nation that your Excellency see to it that this so- 
called principle be officially and formally repudiated, 
which is both iniquitous and senseless and which would 
establish against the United States a law holding good 
only with regard to it; for no other nation would be 
willing to agree to submit to It. 

I refer you to what I have had the honor of telling 
you about it in the enclosed letter. 

I have now to renew my thanks to your Excellency 
for the justice which you have rendered to our powder 
factory and the protection you have been so kind as to 
afford It by making use of it for governmental supplies. 1 

And then, Mr. President, I have several explanations 
to offer to your friendship which is so precious to me 
and to your esteem which is no less so, concerning my 

1 Jefferson informed E. I. du Pont, November 23, 1804, that it had 
been concluded to be for the public interest to apply to his establishment 
for whatever could be had from it for the use of either the naval or mili- 
tary department, and that he would receive official applications in due 
time. See Life ofE. I. du Pont, vn, 28. On March 8, 1805, E. I. du Pont 
thanked Jefferson for the expression- of "the favorable dispositions of the 
government" relative to his manufacture. See Jefferson Papers, Library 
of Congress. Purchases by the government during Jefferson's administra- 
tion, however, amounted to much less than the Du Ponts had expected. 
See E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., p. 34* 

86 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

sojourn in Europe, prolonged much more than I could 

It is easy for you to judge by the progress that 
despotism is making that this sojourn is extremely 
painful to me. 

I need to be free, I need to be useful, I need to live 
with men of lofty feelings. 

The political malady, prurient and gangrenous, by 
which Europe is attacked and which the tremendous 
bleedings about to be made will aggravate, instead of 
healing her, leave me no hope of satisfying henceforth 
in the old world these three needs so deeply rooted in 
my character and heart. 

So in spite of the terrible inconvenience of never 
being able to speak or to write your language well, a 
thing which a person of sixty could not do satisfactorily, 
I am destined to consecrate whatever days God shall 
grant me to the United States and these may still be 
numerous enough (for I feel hale and hearty) and I 
should wish them to be full. 

But I have already told you that a great duty toward 
the memory of Monsieur Turgot does not permit me to 
expose anew to the sea the papers which he has left me. 
I must needs give them to the country which he served 
so illustriously and valorously. 1 

1 Du Font's edition of Turgot's (Enures was published in Paris, 1808- 
1811, in 9 vols. Apparently he had brought Turgot's papers to America 
with him, but did not care to do so again. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 87 

Then, as for you and your fellow citizens, I will not 
be a burden to your country and bring to it only my 
dead body. There would be in that neither dignity nor 

I have given you through my son,, but not through 
myself, the perfected art of gunpowder, necessary for 
the defense of the state, for the destruction of predatory 
animals, for the construction of roads and canals 
through the mountains. I wish to give you the tannery 
which is still very imperfect in your country. This art, 
so closely related to agriculture, to which the vast 
number of your trees offers raw material better than 
that of our climates, is not one of those from which 
your nation ought to be deterred. 

I shall return knowing the basic principles of the 
English method of manufacture of which we have an 
excellent establishment in Normandy, and those of the 
two French methods. By combining the theory and 
practice of these three methods of manufacture and by 
aiding ourselves through researches on your trees, we 
shall make the American method of manufacture 
superior to the three others. 

Finally, I have to end my life by helping under your 
auspices in the organization of public education for 
which the plan that you asked of me won your ap- 

After which I can die. 

88 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

Meanwhile, and as long as I live, I wish to deserve 
your love as you have my love and respect. 


WASHINGTON Feb. 12. 06 
Mr. Dupont de Nemours 


Mr. Skipwith's return to Paris furnishes me an op- 
portunity of acknoleging the receipt of your letters of 
Apr. 22. 29. May. 12. Aug. 27. Sep. 8. In that of May 
12. you mention in general terms a notice taken by the 
society of Agriculture of a mouldboard of my construc- 
tion: and I saw some details on that subject in the 
newspapers, which I should have paid no attention to 
but for the credit it derives from your mention. The 
fear that some notice on that subject might have been 
addressed to me and miscarried, & an imputation arise 
of a want of respect on my part to that society of which 
I am incapable, induces me to observe to you that I 
have no information on the subject but that from the 
newspapers & from yourself: and to pray you to cover 
me from blame if I should have been in the case of in- 
curring it. 1 Having lately been informed that our 
ploughmen would prefer a mouldboard with a sharp 
toe, I have shewn them that this is made with equal 

1 Jefferson's official notice from the Society seems to have been delayed. 
A letter in regard to it was written him by M. Silvestre, August 8, 1806, 
and he acknowledged the medal and the memoirs which accompanied it, 
May 29, 1807. 

and Pierre Samuel da Pont de Nemours 89 

ease on the same principle as that with a square toe. 
By Mr. Skipwith I sent you a box containing a model 
of each, which in my present uncertainty of what has 
passed on this subject with the society of Agriculture, 
I must pray you to dispose of as your better informa- 
tion & friendship to me will enable you best to do. The 
sharp toe enables them to shorten the plough by several 
inches, as it laps further on the share. 

I sent M. Briot's letter to the Philosophical society, 
having as you are sensible, no time to give to objects of 
that nature. Since Orleans has been established under 
a government of it's own, it's legislature has begun a 
scheme for an academy, & I suppose Congress will en- 
dow it with lands. I apprised Govr. Claiborne of the 
advantages the institution would derive from placing 
you at it's head. He is fully sensible of it, and will pay 
due attention to it when the scheme is advanced to 

I had hoped that the matter in which our differences 
with Spain had been terminated (in which we ex- 
perienced your good dispositions) would have secured 
u$ a long peace with her. On the contrary it has been 
the epoch of a regenerated spirit of hostility, probably 
excited by an agent of hers here. We are making one 
effort more to preserve peace, to which we are not led 
by any apprehensions that we should lose in a contest 
with her. 

go Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

I am in hopes the Eieutherian mills go on well. It is 
lately ascertained that the supplies of saltpetre which 
the Western country can furnish are immensely beyond 
what had been expected. A single cave is known which 
would supply us for the whole term of a war. The caves 
are numerous. But a more important discovery has 
been made: that there are immense precipices of a soft 
sandy rock, which pulverised yields about 20. Ibs. of 
salt petre to the bushel, whereas the earth of the Caves 
yields but i Ib. to the bushel. Your son is setting out on 
a visit to that country to inform himself from his own 
view of the subject. The purpose of publishing the 
works of Turgot, which detains you in France, is a very 
legitimate one. We shall be doubly happy therefore on 
your return, as, with yourself, it will give us the valua- 
ble work you have edited. I send you a pamphlet 
written here, in which the British doctrine, that a 
commerce not open to Neutrals in peace shall not be 
pursued by them in war, is logically & unanswerably 
refuted, I wish it may be well translated into French. 
Present my respectful remembrances to Madame Du- 
pont & accept yourself assurances of my constant at- 
tachment & great respect. 


and Pierre Samuel da Pont de Jiemours 91 

PARIS, Mcp 6, 1807 
To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


I have the honor to send you a small collection of 
memoirs, or rather two copies of this collection. One is 
for you; the other, for the philosophical society. 

The edition of M. Turgot's works is not yet done and 
delays the time when I can bring to your republic the 
tribute of my zeal and of my last labors. 

As a faithful American and unchanging friend of 
liberty, I dare to offer to your wisdom the sugges- 
tion of increasing your defenses. I see from statistics 
which have been published that you have not enough 
cannons or guns. These last can be bought in 
Europe. You have copper mines. Have them exploited 
and cast your cannons. War of today is made by the 

With good reason have you thought of militarising 
further a part of your militia. Turn all your attention 
to doing that: let not patriotic courage be a thing apart 
from the science of tactics and from that facility in the 
handling of arms which adds confidence. 

A good militia is not a formidable thing to liberty. 
It is not won away from its allegiance: it is not led to 
civil wars like standing armies. 

But it can be and must be put in the position to with- 
stand on equal terms first, advantageously and glori- 

92 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

ously next, a series of fights against regular troops, even 
numerous and powerful ones. 

The artillery is indispensable, and likewise its mo- 
bility. Its position may be decisive. But it must have 
an excellent infantry for its support in order that it may 
not be swept away, ' 

If war were to come to your land before you are able 
to get a sufficient quantity of good guns, a third can be 
spared and there can be formed a very formidable in- 
fantry by giving guns only to the best marksmen and 
making the third rank of pikesmen whose arms cost 
almost nothing and project by a foot or a foot and a half 
beyond the first bayonets. The use of one's fire is 
not lost, because only practised hands have it in charge, 
and in the crossing of steel the advantage of its length 
is gained. 

It is terrible to have to think of those things. But 
how would the flock be saved if wolves could not be 
opposed by faithful, trained, and fearless dogs? 

Aaron Burr's baseness and madness make me shud- 
der. 1 

Your courage against England is an honor to you. 2 

1 Burr's trial, on the charge of treason in levying war against the 
United States, began May 22, 1807. ** e b&d been arrested and com* 
mitted before the date of this letter. 

2 American rights were being infringed upon by the British in their 
struggle against Napoleon, though not so flagrantly as after the date 
of this letter, Jefferson's foes accused him of taking stronger tone against 
the British than the French, but credited him with little courage. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 93 

Continue to be independent to the rest of the world. 
Your nation and your native land are an asylum and 
hope for the entire world. 

Regards and respects. 


It is a consolation for me to know that my son at 
Eleutherian Mill can contribute efficaciously to your 

I seriously regret that his brother did not from the 
start concentrate his efforts on agriculture; and that 
circumstances took me to Europe. But that will not be 
for always. 

WASHINGTON, July 14, 1807 
M. Dupont de Nemours * 


I received last night your letter of May 6. and a vessel 
being just now sailing from Baltimore affords me an 
opportunity of hastily acknoleging it. Your exhorta- 
tion to make a provision of arms is undoubtedly wise, 
and we have not been inattentive to it. Our internal 
resources for cannon, are great, and those for small 
arms considerable, & in full emploiment. We shall not 
suffer from that want, should we have war: and of the 
possibility of that you will judge by the enclosed procla- 

* Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Ford ed.), ix, 110-12, 

94 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

matioiV & by what you know of the character of the 
English government. Never, since the battle of Lexing- 
ton have I seen this country in such a state of exaspera- 
tion as at present: and even that did not produce such 
unanimity. The federalists themselves coalesce with us 
as to the object, tho 3 they will return to their trade of 
censuring every measure taken to obtain it. " Repara- 
tion for the past, and security for the future/ 3 is our 
motto; but whether the English will yield it freely, or 
will require resort to non-intercourse, or to war, is yet 
to be seen. We prepare for the last. We have actually 
2000. men in the field, employed chiefly in covering the 
exposed coast, & cutting off all supply to the British 
vessels. We think our gunboats at New York, (32) with 
heavy batteries along shore, & bombs, will put that 
city hors f insults. If you could procure & send me a 
good description & drawing of one of your Frames, you 
would do me a most acceptable service. I suppose 
them to be in fact a floating battery rendered very 
manageable by oars. 

Burr's conspiracy has been one of the most flagitious 
of which history will ever furnish an example. He had 
combined the objects of separating the western States 
from us, of adding Mexico to them, & of placing him- 
self at their head. But he who could expect to effect 

1 Presumably his proclamation of July 2, 1807, following the firing on 
the American frigate Chesapeake by the British frigate Leopard, which 
might easily have led to war. Writings (Ford ed.), DC, 89-99. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nernours 95 

such objects by the aid of American citizens, must be 
perfectly ripe for Bedlam. Yet altho 3 there is not a man 
in the U.S. who is not satisfied of the depth of his guilt, 
such are the jealous provisions of our law in favor of the 
accused & against the accuser, that I question if he can 
be convicted. Out of 48 jurors who are to be sum- 
moned, he has a right to choose the 12 who are to try 
him, and if any one of the 1 2 refuses to concur in find- 
ing him guilty, he escapes. This affair has been a great 
confirmation in my mind of the innate strength of the 
form of our government. He had probably induced 
near a thousand men to engage with him, by making 
them believe the government connived at it. A procla- 
mation alone, by undeceiving them, so compleatly dis- 
armed him, that he had not above 30 men left, ready 
to go all lengths with him. The first enterprise was to 
have been the seizure of N. Orleans, which he sup- 
posed would powerfully bridle the country above, & 
place him at the door of Mexico. It has given me 
infinite satisfaction, that not a single native Creole of 
Louisiana, and but one American settled there before 
the delivery of the country to us, were in his interest. 
His partisans there were made up of fugitives from 
justice or from their debts who had flocked there from 
other parts of the U.S., after the delivery of the 
country, and of adventurers & speculators of all 
descriptions. I thank you for the volume of memoires 

96 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

you have sent me, & will immediately deliver that for 
the Phil. Society. I feel a great interest in the publica- 
tion of Turgot's works, but quite as much in your re- 
turn here. Your Eleutherian son is very valuable to us 
& will daily become more so. I hope there will be a 
reaction of good offices on him. We have heard of a 
great improvement in France of the furnace for heating 
cannon balls, but we can get no description of it. 

I salute you with sincere affection, & add assurances 
of the highest respect. 


(PARIS,) August 13, 1807 
To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


I do not let an opportunity pass to write to you when 
I think I can do so with safety. 

It is a keen disappointment to me, if you persist in 
your unwillingness to be re-elected. 1 I think you are 
still more useful to your country by remaining at the 
head of its government than you were as an instrument 
in its declaration of independence, which may become 
more difficult to maintain than it was to establish. 

How can you think, in such a situation, of retiring? 

* For a statement of Jefferson's attitude toward this question about 
this time, see his letter to Win. Short, May 19, 1807, Writings (Ford ed ), 
K, 50-51. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 97 

You are three whole years younger than I am, and I 
still feel capable of serving my brothers for ten more 

My noble Mend, let us die on our feet. 

If it is still possible for you to withdraw that dis- 
couraging resolution of retreat, let it be known and re- 
main; for the matter is worthy of you. There will be 

If it is absolutely too late for you to hold your posi- 
tion, let us weep. But exert some influence in the mat- 
ter of the choice of your successor; and give the first 
place to character, virtue, patriotism, courage, let 
these take precedence over talents and intelligence. 
Republics are maintained by stubbornness, bold resolu- 
tion, by the art of inspiring them in its citizens, an art 
which is the fruit of stern and honest endeavor, rather 
than by learned combinations. 

Nevertheless, as long as you are the executive power 
and have some influence over your legislative body, 
neglect no one of them. 

Create an artillery. It is dreadful to think of your 
lack in this matter. 

One of large calibre for the defense of important 
posts is not to be despised. But these posts are attacked 
indirectly or their seizure is postponed when a country 
is subdued. So it is the light and easily moved artillery, 
whose positions can be changed quickly and at will, 

98 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

which makes for the safety of the state, because It 
follows its defenders everywhere. 

Create a navy if you still have time. 

Train and drill your militia so that you can make of 
it, if need be, a good and fairly numerous army, and 
also so that you can, by recruiting this army after each 
loss that it might experience, keep it constantly at 
maximum strength. Soldiers may be killed: as long as 
war lasts, the army must be immortal. 

There is neither liberty nor independence assured to 
a country whose militia is not skilled in arms and drill, 
and cannot, when it is attacked, receive from its 
government a good and sufficient artillery. 

If you have any malleable iron, it is more lasting 
than bronze and makes good cannons. But both need 
mills for casting, turning, and boring. Have some 
made promptly; and meanwhile, buy wherever yoft 
can what you find for sale. 

I am told that you have taken measures for forming a 
corps of thirty thousand volunteers. That is very good. 

I wish that you could bring it to fifty thousand, 
which seems to me should make a sufficient army if, as 
I said just now, this army is an immortal troop; which 
it will be, if the militia, well drilled, always furnishes 
necessary substitutes and covers besides positions of 
easy defense, thus always relieving and renewing the 
active army. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 99 

I do not believe that you need more than eight thou- 
sand cavalrymen, because since you can be attacked 
only by European powers, there is no likelihood that 
they can transport across the Atlantic many horses to 
your shores. Of these eight thousand men you would 
need four thousand for the gendarmerie, or heavy-armed 
cavalry with breastplates for armor: armor for the back 
is good for nothing: the other four thousand must be 
the light-armed cavalry. 

If you conclude a treaty with England, weigh well 
the conditions and make them binding. You were 
absolutely right in not consenting to her so-called right 
to board and search your vessels for sailors whom she 
would claim to be English, who are very difficult to 
distinguish, and whom the flag of an independent 
power ought to protect even if they should be deserters. 
There is no more reason for seeking them or using their 
police power on your bridges or under your hatches 
than in your cities and in your fields. 

If the English government, which seems to me to be 
very strange today and very unreasonable in interven- 
ing in opinions expressed in its own country and in 
setting yours at defiance, should fall into the bitter folly 
of making war on you, seize the opportunity immedi- 
ately of taking possession of Canada and never give it 
up; make yourself beloved by it. 

If England, more reasonably, should agree to cede it 

ioo Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

to you, amicably in your treaty, seize the opportunity. 
For it is only by way of Canada that there can be made 
against you a dangerous attack, by means of a powerful 
army aided by a hostile population and sufficiently 

An attack through Louisiana and the Floridas 
would fail because of supplies and roads. 

One by New York would cause great and dreadful 
destruction in a lovely land. I do not believe it would 
be definitely successful. But still you must be prepared 
to repel it. You have, d propos of this, M. de Pusy's 
excellent plan. 1 

In its present condition, New York would be de- 
stroyed without difficulty by a fleet of ten vessels, 
Jersey invaded, and Philadelphia pillaged or burned by 
an expeditionary force of twenty-five thousand men 
who then would be repulsed and annihilated. 

But through Canada you might have to deal with 
eighty thousand men easily recruited and fed very well 
by the country of their entry. And if your military 
supplies were not long before entirely prepared, you 
might be conquered at any moment. Unfortunately 
you would not need any other Aaron Burrs already 
sold or for sale. 

v When I get back, I shall show you how to clothe, 
arm, and use your troops in order that they may be 

1 See Du Font's letter of November 8, 1800, above. 

and Pierre Samuel da Pont de Nemours 101 

more formidable and less expensive than those of 
Europe. That would be too much to write; and be- 
sides one needs visible example and trial. 

I cannot leave before a year. The duty which I have 
to fulfil and of which I have spoken to you,, although 
advanced in its execution, still requires that time. 
Shortly after my arrival in the United States, I shall go 
and see you. I hope and desire to find you still in your 
present position. Then whatever wisdom I may have 
and what is left of my " old blood " will be at the serv- 
ice of your liberty and that of your country. 

I will not sign my letter. You know my hand: and I 
trust you know my heart. 

Vde, Perge, et me semper ama. 

WASHINGTON May 2. 1808 
Mr. Dupont de Nemours 


Your letters constantly announcing an early return 
to us, have prevented my writing to you, and even now 
I do it rather in the hope that this will not find you at 
Paris. Under this uncertainty and knowing the interest 
you take in our affairs, I will only briefly say that 
during the present paroxysm of the insanity of Europe, 
we have thought it wisest to break off all intercourse 
with her. 1 We shall in the course of this year have all 

1 The Embargo had gone into effect. 

102 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

our seaports of any note put Into a state of defence 
against naval attacks. Against great land armies we 
cannot attempt it but by equal armies. For these we 
must depend on a classified militia, which will give us 
the service of the class from 20. to 26, in the nature of 
conscripts., composing a body of about 250,000. to be 
specially trained. This measure attempted at a former 
session, was pressed at the last, and might I think 
have been carried by a small majority. But considering 
that great innovations should never be forced on slen- 
der majorities, and seeing that the public opinion is 
sensibly rallying to it, it was thought better to let it tie 
over to the next session, when I think it will be passed. 
Another measure has now twice failed, which I have 
warmly urged, the immediate settlement, by donation 
of lands, of such a body of militia, in the territories 
of Orleans & Mississippi, as will be adequate to the 
defence of New Orleans. We are raising some regulars, 
in addition to our present force, for garrisoning our sea- 
ports, & forming a Nucleus for the militia to gather to. 
There will be no question who is to be my successor. 1 
Of this be assured, whatever may be said by news- 
papers & private correspondencies. Local considera- 

1 Madison was Jefferson's personal choice, though the latter preserved 
strict impartiality between him and Monroe. See letter to Monroe, 
Writings (Ford ed.), EX, 177. Madison's election was assured before the 
full effect of the Embargo in wrecking the popularity of the administra- 
tion had been manifested* 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 103 

tions have been silenced by those dictated by the con- 
tinued difficulties of the times. A public vessel going 
to France & England monthly during our embargo; 
for the purposes of correspondence, will give safe 
opportunities of conveying letters, but I would rather 
say "JVi7 miki rescribas, attamen ipse veni" Present me 
respectfully to Made. Dupont, and accept the assur- 
ances of my constant & sincere friendship. 


PARIS, May 25, 1808 
To his Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


Although I doubt in no way that Mr. Madison who 
has so much and such good sense and who has been 
so long the companion of your labors, will govern 
according to the same principles as your Excellency 
and will follow in your footsteps; I cannot keep from 
deeply regretting the decision you have made not to 
take advantage of the eligibility which the laws of your 
country give you, and to give up the presidency. 1 

The reason you gave is a most delicate and noble 
one; it is certainly very good, as a rule, not to en- 
courage life-long tenure of an office; and in this matter, 
the example must be set by the most worthy, for the 
others would not set it. But when the safety, the 

1 For Jefferson's answer to the petitions that he stand for reelection, see 
H. S. Randall, Life of Thomas Jefferson (1858), m s 252. 

104 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

political existence, and the independence of the state 
may be threatened, it becomes so important to keep 
at the helm long experience and courage tempered 
by great events that it is very difficult for any officer 
to be able to equal in worth those still strong old men 
who saw the Republic born and who had an active 
part in its birth. 

You did well to say that if war should take place you 
would again become a candidate. 1 An immediate war 
is not to be feared, but it still threatens and is for- 
midable. Your country is not safe and will not be safe, 
as long as Canada is not united to it; as long as you 
have not a powerful, numerous, and mobile artillery; 
as long as your copper and malleable iron mines, or 
those made malleable by chemical processes, are not 
exploited and that too with this end in view; as long 
as your militia is not daily drilled and completely 
armed with guns of such a calibre that the same car- 
tridges may be used in them from Maine to Louisiana; 
as long as you have not in your armories the means for 
doubling this armament, for you must expect, and 
without trembling, that, a war occurring against 
troops seasoned by long fights, the best militia, in its 

1 We have been unable to discover such a statement in Jefferson's 
published writings. He wrote John Taylor, January 6, 1805, that only 
the danger of the succession of a monarchist, which he regarded as im- 
possible, would gain his acquiescence in another election. Writings 
(Memorial ed.), xi, 56-57. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 105 

first campaign, sometimes in its second, will often lose 
a part of its arms; and especially, my noble friend, as 
long as your young men are not shaped by a general 
education, by civil and military habits, by good little 
classic books, studied, learned, copied, sung 5 and aim- 
Ing even toward the dances of childhood, animating 
those of youth and manhood, which out of respect for 
law, out of love for justice, of zeal for liberty, of the 
most heroic devotion for country, make a Religion. 

That is not done, nor perhaps is it ready to be done. 
It must be hoped that God will provide it. If half of 
the good which would seem indispensable remains un- 
done, we must take some consolation in the idea that 
on the other hand half of the evil that could happen 
never does happen. 

Still we must see both, and that too in every detail; 
we must act as if the first were to be done immediately 
and as if the second hung over our heads. 

Use your spare time for this, since it will no longer 
be your administration. It is fitting that on the eve 
of his death Jefferson worked for America and the 
world, just as if he were twenty years old. Old age is 
made for mediocrity. Water kept too long stagnates, 
but good wine is still improving at its hundredth year. 

I shall ask you to manage it so that, either through 
you or your respected successor, the captains of the 
cartel-ships (parlementaires) which the United States 

io6 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

will surely send from time to time be given orders to 
take me on board as soon as I am free. I have not yet 
finished the work which I owe to the shade of M. 
Turgot. Only four volumes are printed. I judge from 
what remains of the material, superior perhaps to that 
already used, that there will be at least three others. 
That done, I shall cry quits with the old world; and 
my wishes, my steps shall turn toward him to whom 
I can be of some use; where liberty can be lasting; 
where my children are settled; where my grandsons 
will never be exposed to killing men except in defense 
of their country: to kill by an arbitrary order, to kill 
like an executioner and like an executioner of the 
innocent what is worse seems to me the most 
horrible and vilest of crimes. I wish no Du Pont to 
be sullied by this. . . . 

My best wishes and unchanging affection. 


My wife asks me to remember her to you. . . . 

PARIS, July 23, 1808 
To his Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


I gratefully received your letter of May 22, 1 which 
crossed the one I had the honor to write you the 25th 
of the same month, 

1 Probably Jefferson's letter of May 2, above. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 107 

This last letter of mine pointed out to your Ex- 
cellency what I believe to be indispensable to the 
political safety of your Country. 1 . . , 

To this I shall also add today the necessity of get- 
ting the Floridas, 2 not for their wealth (since their land 
is barren), not to prevent an attack in this quarter, 
for a European army could not cross its deserts and 
go up its rivers; but to keep frigates and privateers 
from Saint Augustine from closing the Mississipi [sic], 
and thus allowing your western states, which have no 
other outlet but this river, to be cut off. 

It is impossible not to see that present circumstances 
must offer several means of adding these provinces to 
the United States by a treaty or by a voluntary union. 
Depending upon events, it may happen that the in- 
habitants consider themselves masters and desire this 
union, and a small amount of money given or lent 
would make this still easier. Religion is not an ob- 
stacle in your government, since (as every one knows) 
it respects and protects all religions. 

The only thing of importance to you in this matter 
is for the Floridas not to belong to any European and 

1 Several paragraphs, repeating the arguments of the letter of May 25, 
are omitted. 

2 The acquisition of West Florida was a very important objective of 
Jefferson's policy, but did not come about until the administration of 
Madison, under circumstances not dissimilar to those hypothetically 
described by Du Pont. See I. J. Cox, The West Florida Controversy (1918), 

io8 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

maritime power. If any Europeans, whoever they may 
be, should take possession of them, there should be no 
hesitation in ejecting them within the year; declaring 
that it is only for the safety of the United States, and 
offering in its name all amends, every compensation, 
and every reasonable indemnity, even being generous 
in the matter of this indemnity: declaring that the 
possession that you are now taking in your turn, with 
a force sufficiently large to prevent all resistance, would 
result from no hostile attitude, that you would not 
regard it as a war, the very idea of which is contrary 
to your constitution and your maxims, but only as an 
indispensable precaution in order that foreigners may 
not have the means to sow the seed of dread division 
among you. 

If Mexico becomes an independent power, which is 
again possible and very probable, you will have to 
agree with it, and that too amicably, upon your south- 
ern boundaries, leaving no pretext or reason for a 
future break; for it will be, of all powers, the one with 
whom you will need most to be friends; and in these 
first moments, it must be well inclined. 

Just now America is a new world in which your nation 
has carried and will keep principles of liberty which 
some day will help heal the ills of the old world. 

A war with Europe seems to me somewhat less 
immediately threatening. But that is no reason for 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 109 

neglecting to prepare yourself to go through with one. 
You must not forget that unless Europe changes her 
principles, this war will be inevitable. 1 . . . 

I am not at all of the opinion that during the inter- 
ruption of your commerce you should urge your people 
toward any manufacturing which is not absolutely 
necessary for your defense. Your commerce cannot 
always be suspended. Some day it will resume its 
natural course; trade will return to the fittest, and the 
capital used for the majority of the new industries 
would be lost. If it were not, and if too large a number 
of these industries could be maintained, that would be, 
in your position, a still more serious evil. 2 . . . 

You have everything to think of: war, finance, 
politics, diplomacy. And as for these, you must still 
believe that inhabitants of a republic in general, and 
your people in particular, are less suited for diplomacy 
than those nations which have courts. Do not envy 
them this advantage; make up for it. There are in this 
case resources of magnanimity and good faith. When 
one is not shrewd, one must be generous, and not 
bargain much: generosity is also cunning. Again you 
have an inconvenience which bears on your foreign 
relations: you are too far from Europe to receive an 

1 Several paragraphs, dealing with the question of preparedness as in 
other letters, are omitted. 

a Several obscure and technical paragraphs dealing with methods of 
taxation are omitted. 

no Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

accurate idea of it. Europe is very changeable: when 
any news reaches you, it is already a long time passed; 
and, for what concerns it, your political activities must 
occur late. 

However, my respected friend, I applaud you loudly, 
because it is a measure of that lofty wisdom for which I 
revere you as much as I love you for your virtues: I 
applaud you for perceiving that you could not dispense 
with incurring, in the matter of preparations, the same 
expenses and using the same time, whether you prolong 
peace or whether you decide on war; for perceiving 
that in peace you would make them with more economy 
and care, that you could not make them without 
borrowing, that you would better borrow, and more 
easily too, and at a better rate on your peace credit 
than on your war credit; and I applaud you for having 
decided, therefore, in place of entering upon hostil- 
ities, to sacrifice temporarily fifteen-sixteenths of your 
public income in order to keep up negotiations: z and 
no other nation would have thought of that. I think 
that this will be a real financial economy without 
counting that of human blood which a philosopher and 
republican, such as you are, considers of no small 

I regret that you have not yet actively begun the 

1 He is probably referring to the Embargo, which greatly reduced the 
income of the government from customs duties. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemoun 


public education of your nation, for which you have 
given your approval to my ideas. National education 
cannot begin too soon, for it is only when that has been 
in progress for twelve or fifteen years according to 
wisely joined, reasonable, philosophic,, and patriotic 
principles, that the nation and state can be considered 
solidly constituted, the social knot well tied in every 
spirit and heart. When one wishes to have citizens, 
one must make them. 

Although your successor must be your friend, how 
could he flatter himself that he will follow your plans 
as you would have done yourself? He will have his 
own. I regret your retirement for your country's sake, 
and the great influence that you can maintain. I 
regret it also for my own sake and for the services 
which I hoped to render your nation in peace or 
war, for I have carefully studied the two sciences, both 
necessary for a statesman. But a young president will 
take me for a dotard. I am three years older than you. 

Why did I not come back sooner and why can I not 
leave again? I have already told you. I had a great 
debt to pay to the memory of Monsieur Turgot; and 
the publication of his writings was also a debt to 

As long as I thought it possible to make his prin- 
ciples win out in practice, I stood by my task and 
thought it more important to rule than to write. 

112 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

After the overthrow of our republic on the i8th of 
Fructidor of the Year V, when I crossed over to 
America, I hoped to found there a colony, a Pontiania* 
and even that entered into my duty toward Monsieur 

Most of those who had subscribed toward furnishing 
me with funds for this received no returns. The zeal 
and trust of my elder son in all that seemed to be of 
service to his old country lost the rest; and nought is 
left to me to save the principal of my associates, while 
sacrificing almost my entire personal fortune, but the 
very great success of my second son's powder factory. 
So you can imagine my hurry to rejoin this excellent 
young man and to find myself again in a country 
where I may still be of use, for even if I do not know 
English well (which is a great inconvenience), I am 
not ignorant of the language of reason and liberty 
(which is an advantage) . 

But having no surety of just how much I may be 
listened to or disregarded by a nation that is not ' my 
own, that may even have against mine rather just 
suspicions, running the risk of no longer being any- 
thing but an "old gentleman 55 [sic], an ignorant old 
man of Ietters 3 living only for his family, without in- 
terest for the world, I surely had no right to expose for 

1 See Introduction. The name "Pontiania" is obviously derived from 
Du Font's own name. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 113 

the third time the precious papers of Monsieur Turgot 
to the waves of the Atlantic. It is already too much to 
have saved them from it twice. If I drown hereafter, 
I must drown all alone. So the work is now in the 
press. I have already printed five volumes, three or four 
more still to print. To finish this task, that is my job. 
Then I shall be able to give some attention to myself. 

If we are then disappointed in our hopes, as we must 
expect, we shall lose a great happiness and a sweet 
illusion; but we shall have received a good lesson in 
philosophy, and with advancing age, we shall leave 
the world to God to whom centuries are of little mo- 
ment and who knows full well that mankind will 
always spread its light and will arrive sooner or later 
at some degree of knowledge and morality, which will 
cover the earth with men as happy and as mutually 
helpful as their natures can allow. 

It is our youthful impatience which would like for 
these beautiful days to come tomorrow. Poor ants, let 
us be satisfied with having brought our grain of millet 
to the hive, and let us die hunting for another. 

I send you my tenderest greetings. 


My wife is deeply appreciative of your thoughts of 
her. She esteems and respects you as much as I do 
myself. 1 ... 

* An unimportant postscript written in the margin is omitted. 

H4 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

PARIS, 5.7772^. 1808 

[Sept. 5, 1808] 

To His Excellency Thomas Jefferson 
President of the United States 


I think that today is the last time I shall be able to 
write you with complete frankness. For I shall cer- 
tainly refrain from intrusting letters of any importance 
to Mr. Armstrong * who would open them, withhold 
them if he should not deliver them, denounce them at 
least through imprudence or lack of common sense if 
not through deliberate meanness and perversity of 
spirit. If I have to die some day for the liberty of your 
country, I certainly do not want this to be in a cell 
where I should be of no good. 

t I am somewhat reassured concerning the foreign 
dangers which the United States seemed to me to have 
to incur, since I see the difficulty which arises in con- 
quering a neighboring and continental nation when it 
does not wish to be conquered: 2 which must cause to 
be postponed the idea of going and looking for another 
across the sea and distant twelve hundred leagues. 

You are more hated than the Spanish and Austrians, 
because you are more enlightened and free: thus setting 
a much worse and more dangerous example for people 

1 See note on letter of September 8, 1805. 

2 He is apparently referring to the difficulties of the French in their 
attempt to conquer Spain, which rendered any attack on the United 
States by France unlikely. He writes, not as a French patriot, but as a 
liberal internationalist who by this time thoroughly distrusted Napoleon. 
Whether or not Ms hypotheses are credible is a question. 

and Pierre Samuel da Pont de Nemours 115 

whose empire is not one of reason. So you could have 
and ought to have been attacked before those two 
nations which were already in the hollow of our hand 
and from which no resistance was feared. 

You certainly would have been, either in concert 
with England if she had been willing to accede to it, 
or as soon as England was put down or bound by a 
treaty in which she would have given up Canada. 
That was the natural plan, if a mistake had not oc- 
curred on the way. And you certainly will be, just as 
soon as England is brought to the same view. It will 
not be she who will wish to invade you through 
Canada. She tried it in vain when you were three 
times weaker than you now are; and she has learned 
from experience that you are more useful to her power 
by your commerce than by your submission. Then 
there will be found in conquering your nation the 
advantage which has always been envisaged, viz., that 
of destroying a flourishing republic, and then of con- 
quering Mexico more easily. 

These views, concerning the road to Mexico through 
the United States, become of much more interest since 
Mexico was lost through the desire of taking Spain by 
force, when the complete accord of her weak monarch 
was enjoyed without effort. 1 

1 Mexican independence was not yet achieved. The overthrow of 
Ferdinand VII of Spain and the accession of Joseph Napoleon, however, 
created great discontent in Mexico and was followed by intermittent 
revolutionary movements. 

n6 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

So what you have now to fear and to repel if the 
thing takes place is an invasion of the Floridas, which 
can occur by means of an expedition of five or six 
vessels and four or five thousand men, an expedition 
of adventurers, so to speak. If a great power were 
established in the Floridas, it would not need to be 
more feared in its attempt to conquer you, for the 
rivers cannot be navigated, the plains are too barren 
(Pine Barrens), and there is nothing for an army to 
live on. But it could, even with undermanned vessels, 
close the Missipi [sic], and, by putting a stop to the 
commerce of your western states, bring about a split 
which would cut your republic in two, cast you into 
the midst of a civil war, and leave no increase possible 
except to those of your states which, having a minimum 
of intelligence [lumieres?], love freedom the least and 
would most easily be tempted by the vainglories of a 
monarchy, by feudal institutions, by the pleasure of 
commanding slaves, by a mixture of vanity and sloth. 
And the English, whose ethics are of no higher standard 
than the others 5 , whom the war may finally weary, 
in whom your existance always causes some rancor, 
and who have given aid to Burr, might be stupid 
enough not to look unfavorably on this break, should 
it aid in procuring for them a momentary rest. 

Now I am not saying that you must make war on 
these, as our papers say, that you threaten them with 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 117 

an ultimatum. They are only in the second line among 
your enemies and will become dangerous to you only 
when they make peace with the others. 

To declare war on anybody at all in your present 
position and that of the world would be the height of 
imprudence and folly: I am not speaking of the offense 
of shedding blood when it is not absolutely necessary 
for the preservation of fatherland and freedom. 

But I do say that it is indispensable and always 
pressing,, because it requires a rather large outlay of 
money and rather long labor, that you put yourself 
in a decent state of defense; that you have a good sta- 
tion and coastal artillery, and especially a very good 
mobile artillery which costs much less and does more 
good; that you have a reserve of national cavalry, 
by arousing rich citizens to form themselves into a 
mounted militia; that you have all the militia doubly 
armed, the one a complete equipment in their houses, 
the other to replace this, should it become necessary, 
in your armories; that you regularly drill the militia 
and accustom it to manoeuvres. It is very easy to 
make a pleasure of this by having drill take place on 
Sunday, whenever it is a fine day, after divine services, 
and dancing after drill. The dance gets the warriors 
together and compensates them; in crowded towns it 
is an aid to morality and is a good matchmaker. 

Four yearly fairs may serve for major manoeuvres. 

n8 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

You have Independence Day coming rather fortu- 
nately about the summer solstice. You will find in 
your history suitable times for the others; and should 
there be none, there would still be found in spring the 
time of the blessing of the crops (Ambawalia) J and the 
time when prizes are to be given to pupils; and in the 
fall there is the time of the harvest and marriages 
en grandes ceremonies. These three festal occasions would 
be civil, military, and religious in nature. The winter 
one would be still more religious, consecrated to old 
age, to homage paid to grandparents, to the most 
solemn reverence paid above all in the city hall, in 
public buildings, in temples, to the country, your common 
mother, to God, Father of the universe. These four holidays, 
preparation for them, hymns to be sung at them, and 
the pleasures that must accompany them, can weave a 
nation like a piece of goods. 2 

To shape and strengthen one's power is worth more 
than using it; one must have his arms sharpened and 
in good order, and never forget that arms are not tools. 

But if safety requires the use of force, even before it 
has been completely organized, there should not be a 

1 An old Roman festival of crop purification. 

2 These suggestions of Du Font's, looking toward the development of 
what might be termed a civic religion, are in character with many prac- 
tices of the revolutionary period in France. See Albert Mathiez, Les 
Origines des Cultes Revolutionnaires (1904). Jefferson had considerable 
sympathy with the effort to substitute a rational civic religion for tradi- 
tional faiths which he regarded as superstitious. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours i ig 

moment 5 s hesitation. Speed in decision and action is 
half of success. 

If the people of the Floridas are attacked, by any 
European power at all, defend them immediately, like 
good neighbors, and with your attitude and conduct so 
upright as to make you loved like fellow citizens rather 
than as a people merely helping them like soldiers, 

If they should be conquered before your help could 
get there, free them at once with such an army as 
cannot be resisted: then join them to you either as a 
state if they agree, or as close allies until you get the 
consent of their former rulers: consent which you will 
get without trouble after their misfortunes, either for 
money or for rations and munitions for their insular 

In the case of Canada, when the English abandon 
her, you will need nobody's consent. But only make 
the inhabitants understand how foolish it is to wait for 
arbitrary governors from the other side of the world 
when they can govern themselves, and when they can 
act better than anybody else in matters that concern 
their own interests. Lend assistance and a strong hand 
to independence and freedom; and neglect no sound 
proceedure to efface the last remains of the old ha- 
tred which has existed between the Canadians and the 
Yankees. You are not looking for subjects; you want 
only allies, confederates, friends. So do not attempt 

I2O Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

conquests; unite yourselves to others and others to you. 
Let every speech and especially every action show con- 
tinually that your troops by no means wish to conquer 
or oppress; but only to protect, free, aid, and help. 

The Spaniards are giving you time. The English 
will still give you some. You must not count on that 
which Austria might give you: she will be whipped in 
less than no time at all or left in such a position as not 
to be able to be an obstacle. 

I had to tell you all this politics, since it is possible 
that your ambassadors will not inform you, my dear 
and respected President. Your Excellency will make 
such use of it as your wisdom will suggest to you, 
according to how much of your administration will be 
left you. I regret a great deal that your uprightness 
causes you to make a change. When we see each other 
again, we shall be but two old philosophers, and shall 
have no influence but that which a bit of reason, a bit 
of experience, and a slight knowledge of men and 
things can give; and none of these things has any great 
influence over black beards, when the mouth which 
counsels is surrounded by a white beard. 

I embrace you with the warmest respect. 

I shall not sign my letter: you will recognize my 
writing and even more so my heart. Besides, Mr. 
Skipwith x who is a man of head, a man of heart, a 

1 See note i, letter of September 8, 1805. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nernours 121 

man of uprightness and one who deserves all your 
esteem, will not leave you in Ignorance of who gave 
It to him. 

Vale et me ama. 

WASHINGTON^ March 2, 1809 
M. Dupont da Nemours * 


My last to you was of May 2., since which I have 
received yours of May 25, June i, July 23, 24, and 
Sep. 5, and distributed the two pamphlets according 
to your desire. They are read with the delight which 
everything from your pen gives. 

After using every effort which could prevent or delay 
our being entangled in the war of Europe, that seems 
now our only resource. The edicts of the two belliger- 
ents, forbidding us to be seen on the ocean, we met by 
an embargo. This gave us time to call home our sea- 
men, ships and property, to levy men and put our sea- 
ports into a certain state of defence. We have now 
taken off the embargo, except as to France & England 
& their territories, because 50 millions of exports, an- 
nually sacrificed, are the treble of what war would cost 
us. Besides that by war we shall take something, & lose 
less than at present. But to give you a true description 
of the state of things here, I must refer you to Mr. 

* Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.)> xn, 258-60. 

122 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

Coles, the bearer of this, my Secretary, a most worthy, 
intelligent & well-informed young man, whom I recom- 
mend to your notice, and conversation on our affairs. 
His discretion and fidelity may be relied on. I expect 
he will find you with Spain at your feet, but England 
still afloat, & a barrier to the Spanish colonies. But 
all these concerns I am now leaving to be settled by 
my friend Mr. Madison. Within a few days I retire 
to my family, my books, and farms & having gained 
the harbor myself, shall look on my friends still buffet- 
ing the storm, with anxiety indeed, but not with envy. 
Never did a prisoner, released from his chains, feel such 
relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power. 
Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, 
by rendering them my supreme delight. But the 
enormities of the times in which I have lived, have 
forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to 
commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political pas- 
sions. I thank God for the opportunity of retiring from 
them without censure, and carrying with me the most 
consoling proofs of public approbation. 1 I leave every- 
thing in the hands of men so able to take care of them, 
that if we are destined to meet misfortunes, it will be 
because no human wisdom could avert them. Should 
you return to the U.S. perhaps your curiosity may lead 
you to visit the hermit of Monticello. He will receive 

1 As a matter of fact, Jefferson's popularity was at very low ebb. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 123 

you with affection & delight; hailing you in the mean 
time with his affectionate salutations & assurances of 
constant esteem and respect. 


P.S. If you return to us, bring a couple of pair of 
true-bred Shepherd's dogs. You will add a valuable 
possession to a country now beginning to pay great 
attention to the raising [of] sheep. 

124 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 



MONTICELLO. June 28. 09 
M. Dupont de Nemours x 


The interruption of our commerce with England, 
produced by our embargo & non-intercourse law, & 
the general indignation excited by her bare-faced 
attempts, to make us accessories & tributories to her 
usurpations on the high seas, have generated in this 
country an universal spirit of manufacturing for our- 
selves, & of reducing to a minimum the number of 
articles for which we are dependent on her. The ad- 
vantages too of lessening the occasions of risking our 
peace on the ocean, & of planting the consumer in our 
own soil by the side of the grower of produce, are so 
palpable, that no temporary suspension of injuries on 
her part, or agreements founded on that, will now 
prevent our continuing in what we have begun. The 
spirit of manufacture has taken deep root among us; 
and its foundations are laid in too great expence to be 

The bearer of this, Mr Ronaldson, will be able to 
inform you of the extent & perfection of the works 

1 Printed in Writings (Memorial ed.)> xn, 293-96. 

and Pierre Samuel da Pont de Nemours 125 

produced here by the late state of things, and to his 
information, which is greatest as to what is doing in 
the cities, I can add my own as to the country, where 
the principal articles wanted in every family are now 
fabricated within itself. This mass of household manu- 
facture, unseen by the public eye, and so much greater 
than what is seen, is such at present, that, let our inter- 
course with England be opened when it may, not one 
half the amount of what we have heretofore taken 
from her, will ever again be demanded. The great call 
from the country has hitherto been of coarse goods. 
These are now made in our families, & the advantage 
is too sensible ever to be relinquished. It is one of 
those obvious improvements in our condition, which 
needed only to be once forced on our attentions, never 
again to be abandoned. 

Among the arts which have made great progress 
among us is that of printing. Heretofore we imported 
our books, & with them much political principle, from 
England. We now print a great deal, & shall soon 
supply ourselves with most of the books of considerable 
demand. But the foundation of printing you know, is 
the type-foundery, and a material essential to that is 
Antimony. Unfortunately that mineral is not among 
those as yet found in the United States, and the diffi- 
culty & dearness of getting it from England, will force 
us to discontinue our type-founderies, & resort to her 

126 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

again for our books, unless some new source of supply 
can be found. The bearer, Mr Ronaldson, is of the 
concern of Binney & Ronaldson, type-founders of 
Philadelphia. He goes to France for the purpose of 
opening some new source of supply, where we learn 
that this article is abundant. The enhancement of the 
price in England has taught us the fact, that it's ex- 
portation thither from France must be interrupted 
either by the war or express prohibition. Our relations 
however with France, are too unlike hers with Eng- 
land, to place us under the same interdiction. Regula- 
tions for preventing the transportation of the article to 
England, under the cover of supplies to America may 
be thought requisite. The bearer, I am persuaded, will 
readily give any assurances which may be required for 
this object, & the wants of his own type-foundery here 
are a sufficient pledge that what he gets is bonafide to 
supply them. I do not know that there will be any 
obstacle to his bringing from France any quantity of 
Antimony he may have occasion for: but lest there 
should be, I have taken the liberty of recommending 
him to your patronage. I know your enlightened & 
liberal views on subjects of this kind, & the friendly 
interest you take in whatever concerns our welfare. 
I place Mr Ronaldson therefore in your hands, and 
pray you to advise him, & patronize the object which 
carries him to Europe, & is so interesting to him & to 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 

our country. His knolege of what is passing among us ? 
will be a rich source of information for you, and espe- 
cially as to the state & progress of our manufactures. 
Your kindness to him will confer an obligation on me 3 
& will be an additional title to the high & affectionate 
esteem & respect of an antient & sincere friend. 


PARIS, 7 to- [September] 14, 1810 
To Thomas Jefferson 

Ex-President of the United States 
Associe de rinstitut de France 


You will find enclosed my little treatise on the 
finances of the United States/ useless perhaps for the 
time being but I hope not for always. 2 

Still, there is no doubt that these changes, or other 
similar ones, shall have to occur as soon as the most 
usual manufactures are established and are prosperous 
in America; and when your business with Europe is 
reduced to objets de luxe, which are never used except 
by the very rich, consequently a very small number; 
and even these the seriousness of republican manners 
and the religious opinions of several of your citizens 
will make rarer than anywhere else. 

* Called forth by Jefferson's letter of June 28, 1809. The matter was 
discussed, rather vaguely, in two letters from Du Pont, January 20, and 
April 10, 1810, which are not reproduced here. 

a Two brief paragraphs are omitted. 

128 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

When Reason and Religion grow together, it is 
difficult to resist them. 

Thus the revenue from your customs will diminish 
in proportion to the growth of your industries. There 
will come a time when this revenue will not exceed two 
million dollars; and as soon as it is perceptibly dimin- 
ished, you will be obliged to supplement it by other 
forms of taxation. 

I do not know whether this fact is true; but I have 
been told that a step had been taken to seek this supple- 
ment in a mistaken and very dangerous and slippery 
way by General Hamilton, which I think was defi- 
nitely closed by the small revolt of the North- West and 
of Pennsylvania which demanded a movement of 
troops at the very first attempt. 1 

I was told that levies or taxes or excises had been 
recently introduced to cover the work and the products 
of your distilleries. 2 

That would be the beginning of one of the worst 
kinds of taxation that could be adopted. A tax un- 
equal in its assessment, costly in its collection, vexa- 
tious in its form; lending itself, on the one hand, to 
fraud and bad faith, on the other, to bribery and 
tyranny. A tax which cannot be in accord with the 
free constitution of a people and of a country in which 

* The "Whiskey Rebellion" of 1794. 

* See Jefferson's letter of April 15, 1811, 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 129 

a man s s home ought to be an Inviolable asylum., and 
where no authority ought to be able to use force in 
opening his doors in any other case than those of fire, 
flagrans delictum, or the accusation of a crime. 

To create in a republic an army and arms [?], 
necessarily numerous, against the citizens, is to destroy 
that republic: that is making a prince out of the general 
director of the tax, and changing into nobles the par- 
ticular directors. And this prince with his nobles will 
soon become independent of the government itself. 
Through fear of a financial deficit, they impose laws 
which they call anti-fraud [repressives de la Fraud]. 
They multiply them and heap them up. They en- 
tangle the citizens like flies in a spider-web. 

If that has not happened yet, my excellent friend, 
let the President, the Secretaries, the Senate, and Con- 
gress, let all good citizens and all men of spirit unite 
to prevent its happening! 

If the evil has begun, let the same efforts be used 
to tear down this deadly network and remove these 
busy bees from the United States. 

I send my best wishes to your country, and my 
respectful affection. 


I recommend my children to your kind attention. 

130 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

PARIS, March 31, 1811 
To Thomas Jefferson 

Ex-President of the United States 


I know that my work on the finances of the United 
States has reached you, and I am very curious to know 
what your opinion of it is. 

I still think it a little premature, thank heaven; but 
the time when its principles can, perhaps ought to, 
be submitted to the consideration of your statesmen 
grows nearer year by year. And it is good to think 
about it beforehand. 

Did you think it worthy of being communicated to 
Mr. Madison and Mr. Galatin? x 

What I especially wish for it is your vote. Every idea 
having the approval of a philosopher and legislator 
like you will some day be of use to your country and 
the world. 2 * . , 

I do not know when I shall be free to return and see 
you and bear the tribute of my last days to your noble 
and wise citizens who are now the only hope of the 
world. I have another volume of Monsieur Turgofs 
works in the press, and the formalities established for 
the censorship of books make the printing go very 

Meanwhile, I have taken charge of the organization 
of the home aid [secours a domicile] which the needy of 

* See the following letter. a Two paragraphs omitted. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 131 

Paris require, and which the Administration des Hopitaux 
et des Hospices.) to which the government gives money 
for this purpose (insufficient, it is true, but given for a 
good purpose) ^ owes them. It requires intelligence to 
increase its efficacy. The work is difficult, it interests 
the emotions, it requires the entire use of physical and 
spiritual force* You will find it quite within reason 
that your old friend should go to some trouble in this 
matter. When the machine is assembled, an honest 
man, whoever he may be, will suffice to run it; and 
then I shall leave. 
You know my warm affection and deep respect for 


MONTTCELLO, April 15, 1811 

M. Dupont de Nemours * 


I have to acknoledge the reciept of your letters of 
Jan. 20. & Sept. 14. 1810, and, with the latter, your 
Observations on the subject of taxes. They bear the 
stamps of logic and eloquence which mark everything 
coining from you, and place the doctrines of the 
Economists in their strongest points of view: my 
present retirement and unmeddling disposition make 
of this une question oiseusepour moi. But after reading the 
Observations with great pleasure, I forwarded them 

i Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Ford ed.)> rs, 315-22. 

132 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

to the President x and Mr. Gallatin, in whose hands 
they may be useful. Yet I do not believe the change 
of our system of taxation will be forced on us so early 
as you expect, if war be avoided. It is true we are 
going greatly into manufactures; but the mass of them 
are household manufactures of the coarse articles worn 
by the laborers & farmers of the family. These I verily 
believe we shall succeed in making to the whole extent 
of our necessities. But the attempts at fine goods will 
probably be abortive. They are undertaken by com- 
pany establishments, & chiefly in the towns; will have 
little success, & short continuance in a country where 
the charms of agriculture attract every being who can 
engage in it. Our revenue will be less than it would be 
were we to continue to import instead of manufactur- 
ing our coarse goods. But the increase of population & 
production will keep pace with that of manufactures, 
and maintain the quantum of exports at the present 
level at least: and the imports must be equivalent to 
them, & consequently the revenue on them be un- 
diminished. I keep up my hopes that, if war be 
avoided, Mr. Madison will be able to compleat the 
paiment of the national debt within his term, after 
which one third of the present revenue would support 
the government. Your information that a commence- 

1 See Jefferson to Madison, December 8 3 1810, Writings (Memorial ed.) 3 
xrx, 177. He said that, on the whole, Du Font's memoir was "well worth 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Memours 133 

ment of excise had been again made, is entirely un- 
founded. I hope the death blow to that most vexatious 
& unproductive of all taxes was given at the com- 
mencement of my administration, & believe it's revival 
would give the death blow to any administration 
whatever. In most of the middle and Southern states 
some land tax is now paid into the State treasury, and 
for this purpose the lands have been classed & valued, 
& the tax assessed according to that valuation. In 
these an excise is most odious. In the eastern States 
land taxes are odious, excises less unpopular. We are 
all the more reconciled to the tax on importations, 
because it falls exclusively on the rich, and, with the 
equal partition of intestate's estates, constitute the best 
agrarian law. In fact, the poor man in this country 
who uses nothing but what is made within his own 
farm or family, or within the U.S. pays not a farthing 
of tax to the general government, but on his salt; and 
should we go into that manufacture, as we ought to 
do, he will pay not one cent. Our revenues once 
liberated by the discharge of the public debt, & it's 
surplus applied to canals, roads, schools, &c,, and the 
farmer will see his government supported, his children 
educated, & the face of his country made a paradise 
by the contributions of the rich alone, without his 
being called on to spare a cent from his earnings. The 
path we are now pursuing leads directly to this end, 

134 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

which we cannot fail to attain unless our administra- 
tion should fall into unwise hands. 

Another great field of political experiment is opening 
in our neighborhood, in Spanish America. I fear the 
degrading ignorance into which their priests & kings 
have sunk them, has disqualified them from the 
maintenance, or even knoledge of their rights, & that 
much blood may be shed for little improvement in 
their condition. Should their new rulers honestly lay 
their shoulders to remove the great obstacle of igno- 
rance, and press the remedies of education & informa- 
tion, they will still be in jeopardy until another gener- 
ation comes into place, & what may happen in the 
interval cannot be predicted, nor shall you or I live to 
see it* In these cases I console myself with the reflec- 
tion that those who will come after us will be as wise 
as we are, & as able to take care of themselves as we 
have been. I hope you continue to preserve your 
health, & that you may long continue to do so in happi- 
ness is the prayer of yours affectionately. 


5, 1811.] 
To Monsieur Jefferson 


I am sending to America three excellent forerunners, 
my daughter-in-law, Madame de Pusy, whom you 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 135 

have already seen, her daughter who had the honor 
of dining with you in Washington when she was still 
a child, and who is living up to the promise she gave 
then, and lastly Maurice de Pusy who was only three 
months old the first time he embarked for the United 
States and who has become the hope of that branch 
of my family. He has already had some instruction 
in the best of our Lycees, was always among the first 
in his class, and has won several prizes. I hope he will 
do no less well in the American school in which he 
shall be placed; and I shall be much obliged to you 
to suggest to his mother the one to which she should 
give preference. 

It is not without regret that I see that there ha>s 
not been much advance made in the public educa- 
tional institutions, the outline for which your Ex- 
cellency was so good as to ask of me and to which you 
had given your approval. 

What was needed and what is still needed the most 
is the preparation of books on the classics for the lower 
grades; that is, for the most important of the (educa* 
tional) roads: for it is in the colleges, the universities, 
and the academies that the small number of scholars 
is made; but it is in the elementary schools that the 
whole nation is brought up. Thence it must set out 
on the road of reason, courage, intelligence, and virtue. 

Just now you have leisure, my respected friend; you 

136 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

have genius and a lofty point of view; you are very 
kind and very enlightened; so make a plan and outline 
for the four or five books which are necessary for the 
three classes of which the most elementary schools 
must be composed; for children of seven to eight years; 
eight to nine; nine to ten. Get from your government 
or by general subscription the twelve thousand dollars 
which are to be distributed as prizes to their children; 
and in twenty or thirty years hence see the men, the 
citizens they will have made. I do not hope to be in 
their midst, but I see and admire them as if I were 

I am sending you the life of a great man over whom 
this sort of idea had great influence, and whom I saw 
reduced to tears when speaking of the degree of good- 
ness which mankind is capable of acquiring and which 
it will acquire some day: but only after it shall have 
enjoyed for thirty or forty years a special sort of good 
public instruction, and good classic books for the very 
young are the first and principal element in this. 

I beg you to do this so that, when I shall be able to 
go from Eleutherian-Mill and spend a month at Monti- 
cello, I shall find this work either completed or ready 
to have the finishing touches put to it. 

If you are summoned to return to the presidency, do 
not refuse it. 

Msn capable of being of great use to their country 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 137 

and to every nation are so rare today that for them age 
and even infirmity must be as nothing. It is indis- 
pensable for them to die at work and on their feet. 

I send you my tenderest greetings, my hope, and 
my respect. 


September 5, 1811. 

Xber [December] 12, 1811 
To Thomas Jefferson 


I received through the agency of Mr. Barlow/ and 
with much gratitude, your letter of April 15. 

A man like you may retire from office but never 
from public affairs. You are a Magistrate of Mankind. 

So much the better if the establishment of manufac- 
tures in your country does not compel you to change 
your tax system as soon as was feared. 

But it must happen some day, and the government 
and especially public opinion must be prepared for it. 
The science of political economy must not be unknown 
or neglected in the United States. Where would the 
most important questions be discussed if not in a 
republic which respects the freedom of the press, which 
is itself today the latest of the republics which have 
existed, the last hope of those which are to be born and 
which it will propagate like a queen bee? How is it 

1 Joel Barlow, the poet, Minister to France, 1811-1812. 

138 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

possible for sovereigns, in a century in which intelli- 
gence, although less alert and less widespread than it 
was thirty years ago, nevertheless, is far from being 
dead, how (I say) can sovereigns possibly refuse to 
discuss with profundity their interests, their rights, 
and their duties? 

I deeply regret that I cannot make a direct con- 
tribution. It will be impossible for me to become a 
good writer of English. After sixty years, one cannot 
learn how to express himself well in a language which 
was foreign to his youth. But Mr. Paterson, whom, you 
recommended to me, has promised me to translate the 
dissertation on finances and the essay on national education* 
two works which you inspired and which I owe to your 
kindness. He even promised to translate also The 
Analytical Table of the Principles of Political Economy 
[Table Raisonnee des Principes de VEconomie Politique]. 
I shall ask him to pass these translations on to you 
when they are done, in order that your remarkable 
keenness may point out the corrections which you 
believe necessary. He is a young man of great promise. 

I am glad to see that the United States has enough 
time ahead of it to make a decision about its public 
revenues; also that the wiping out of its debts will 
greatly and promptly lessen its political needs; and 

1 So far as we know, he never did. Du Pont cherished many illusions 
about the translation of his treatises. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 139 

that the consumption of foreign commodities on the 
part of your wealthy citizens will help out for several 
years yet the income from your customs, if you can 
avoid war. 

If it cannot be avoided,, consolidate your union with 
the Floridas and effect one with Canada: fortify your 
ports and especially New York, for Governor's Island 
is an insufficient defence for it. Then make peace. 1 . . . 

You think that you gave, at the beginning of your 
wise administration, the coup de grace to the excise system 
attempted by General Hamilton. You did an excellent 
thing. However, if the land tax continues to be odious 
in the Eastern Territory, the best cultivated part of the 
United States which has the good fortune to be free 
from slavery, its success may not be complete: the 
disease may have a relapse. 

The chief errors relative to the general tax are two, 
of which the first is the desire to have everybody con- 
tribute, especially workmen, merchants, capitalists. 
That is an end which cannot be attained; since there is 
no way to keep some from selling the fruit of their 
labor, and others from letting out the use of their 
money, so as to indemnify themselves with a great rate 
of interest at the expense of the crop owners. 

The other error has a loftier origin. It is a conse- 
quence of the dearth of correct ideas as to the exact 

* The rest of this paragraph and all of the following are omitted. 

140 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

status. In political societies, of the landowners and of 
workmen who are not landowners, and the debt that 
society owes to each of them. 

The latter are members of a republic universal and 
without magistracies, and they are to be found in every 
state; and to them the governments and citizens of all 
other states having a constitution, freedom in their 
pursuits, immunity from every tax, free enjoyment of 
the good order resulting from all magistracies, elegi- 
bility to office if they deserve it and if they are accept- 
able to the voters. When they are elected to some duty, 
or when they have bought land (which they must 
always be allowed to do), they become citizens: until 
then, they were and should be only inhabitants. Lib- 
erty, freedom from taxation, safety of person and 
property, protection of the law in all their contracts 
that is the extent and limit of their rights. To grant 
them more would be as unreasonable as to wish, within 
each family, to give the servants the right of running 
the affairs of the household conjointly with the masters. 
To wish to make them pay for the exercise of these 
natural rights would be to act like the miser who stole 
the oats from his horses. 1 Their service would become 
of less worth and of greater expense. 

Municipal and sovereign rights, the right to sit and 

1 Note that Du Pont opposed both the taxing and the enfranchising 
of the landless. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 141 

deliberate in political assemblies, that of voting, that 
of promulgating and executing the laws, belong exclu- 
sively to landowners, because these only are members 
of a particular republic, having a stretch of land and 
the duty of administering it. 

When one leaves out of consideration these bases of 
civilized and established society, when one believes, or 
permits others to believe, that those who have naught 
but their two arms and their personal property are 
citizens just as much as landowners are, and have the 
right either to ask for a share without acquiring it or 
to deliberate about the laws pertaining to these lands 
which they do not own, one is aiding in the brewing 
of a storm, preparing the way for revolutions, opening 
the way for Pisistratuses, Mariuses, and Caesars, men 
who make themselves more democratic than nature, 
justice, and reason require in order to become tyrants, 
to violate every right, to substitute their arbitrary 
wishes for law, to offend morality, and to degrade 

In a republic wishing to be peaceful, lasting, free 
from trouble, one must act so that there is no class 
which is or may believe itself to be oppressed, and 
which wishes protection to oppress in its turn, for such 
are to be found and it is a very popular role. 

Everybody must be able to work and gain without 
being subject to any vexation. Everybody must be able 

142 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

to speak and publish his opinion about matters, pro- 
vided that nobody is insulted and, what is even worse, 
slandered: that is what freedom of speech and of the 
press consists of. But to express one's thought semi- 
officially [qfficieusement], or to deliberate officially and to 
vote> are two very different matters. 1 . . . 

But they [workers] have not the right to consider 
themselves members of the sovereign power, so long 
as they have not bought lands. They have not the 
right to enter the assemblies of the district in which 
they are domiciled, and they can be deputed to another 
assembly only through the free choice which the elec- 
tors of their district or county might make in that 
matter. They can be named for every public office 
by the voters or by the government, and then they 
have the right to fill that office which has been entrusted 
to them. And nothing more. 

"They enjoy/ 5 it will be said, "the protection of the 
law and the help of the public forces, then why should 
they not pay? " They enjoy them, because these are 
things which are not to be refused any one, whoever he 
may be, things which are due the first and least known 
stranger to put his foot into the country. What sort of 
government would it be which would allow those who 
are not citizens to be robbed, insulted, beaten, and 
killed? It would be a government of barbarians. 

1 The rest of this paragraph is omitted. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 143 

There is in real estate a permanent interest and a 
habit of useful work, both of which become a judge 
of reason. Assemblies of land owners are neither too 
numerous nor riotous. The country belongs to those who 
can sell it, and they have powerful reasons for keeping 
it and governing it well. 

If they ask nothing of others, their sovereignty is 
useful to all and can oppress nobody. It protects 
everything and everybody. It admits to its hamlets 
all those who are economical enough and wise enough 
to manage to acquire landed property. It refuses ad- 
mittance only to misconduct and brigandage. A 
people free and exempt from taxes has nothing to wish 
for: a good mental attitude can lead it to everything. 

Revolts in a republic are always brought about 
because the nobles or citizens have wanted to make 
the lower classes pay, hinder them in their work, and 
demand humiliating services of them. An ambitious 
man puts himself at the head of these poor people 
whose labor and personal property have not been 
respected. He makes them plunderers, and they make 
him a prince. 

The prince or his successors make themselves de- 
tested, because their position spoils them and because 
their arbitrary power is naturally odious. 1 . . . 

What happens? The people revolt anew and fall 

* A brief, illegible paragraph is omitted. 

144 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

from an exaggerated democracy once more into an 
intolerable tyranny. 

That is the circle in which all nations have traveled 
up to the present and from which it is necessary to 
depart. And a departure will be made very easily if a 
slightly larger degree of intelligence will be exerted 
than has been. 

Excepting those nations absolutely bereft of reason, 
everywhere republican sentiments will be found. And 
even in a certain sense, every state is a republic or 
quite ready to become one. What are called mon- 
archies are really republics in which the executive and 
legislative powers are badly organized, in which the 
real ruler is oppressed or can be by his representatives. 
However, his right is not wholly disregarded. No 
prince dares to or can consider himself as aught but 
the representative or delegate of the owners of the 
land. 1 , . . 

These are your maxims, excellent philosopher, 2 and 
that is why I love and respect you so much. 


1 About a page and a half, confused and partly illegible, omitted. 

2 Referring perhaps to the paragraphs immediately preceding, which 
we have omitted because of their illegibility. See Jefferson's letter of 
April 24, 1816, below, in which he suggests that he is more democratic 
and more a believer in self-government than Du Pont 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 145 

JVbo. 29. 13 
M. Dupont de Nemours z 


In answering the several very kind letters I have 
recieved from you, I owe to yourself and to the most 
able and estimable author of the Commentaries on 
Montesquieu to begin by assuring you that I am not 
the author of that work, and of my own consciousness 
that it is far beyond my qualifications. 2 In truth I 
consider it as the most profound and logical work which 
has been presented to the present generation. On the 
subject of government particularly there is a purity 
and soundness of principle which renders it precious to 
our country particularly, where I trust it will become 
the elementary work for the youth of our academies 
and Colleges. The paradoxes of Montesquieu have 
been too long uncorrected. I will not fail to send you 
a copy of the work if possible to get it through the 
perils of the sea. 

1 am next to return you thanks for the copy of 
the works of Turgot, now compleated by the reciept of 

* Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.), xrx, 195-200. 

2 Du Pont had attributed to Jefferson the Commentary and Review of 
Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws (Philadelphia, 18 11), which was in reality 
translated from the French manuscript of DeStutt de Tracy. Du Pont 
had discussed the work in a twenty-four page letter to Jefferson, January 
25, 1812, and in a letter of April 14, 1812. He even wanted to translate it 
into French! The book was not published in France until 1819. Jefferson 
had supervised the American translation and publication. See Gilbert 
Chinard, Jefferson et les Ideologues (1925), pp. 123-24 and ch. n. 

E4-6 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

;he last volume. In him we know not which most to 
idmire, the comprehensiveness of his mind, or the 
Denevolence and purity of his heart. In his Distribu- 
ion of Riches, and other general works, and in the 
jjreat principles developed in his smaller work we 
admire the gigantic stature of his mind. But when we 
see that mind thwarted, harrassed, maligned and 
forced to exert all it's powers in the details of pro- 
vincial administration, we regret to see a Hercules lay- 
ing his shoulder to the wheel of an ox-cart. The sound 
principles which he establishes in his particular as well 
as general works are a valuable legacy to ill-governed 
man, and will spread from their provincial limits to 
the great circle of mankind. 

I am indebted to you for your letter by Mr. Correa, 1 
and the benefit it procured me of his acquaintance. 
He was so kind as to pay me a visit at Monticello which 
enabled me to see for myself that he was still beyond all 
the eulogies with which yourself and other friends had 
preconized [sic] him. Learned beyond any one I had 
before met with, good, modest, and of the simplest 
manners, the idea of losing him again filled me with 
regret: and how much did I lament that we could not 
place him at the head of that great institution which 
I have so long nourished the hope of seeing established 

1 Joseph Francisco Correa da Serra (1750-1823), Portuguese botanist, 
who came to America in 1813 to prosecute researches in natural history. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 147 

in my country; and towards which you had so kindly 
contributed your luminous views. But, my friend, that 
institution is still in embryo as you left it: and from the 
complexion of our popular legislature and the narrow 
and niggardly views of ignorance courting the suffrage 
of ignorance to obtain a seat in it, I see little prospect 
of such an establishment until the national government 
shall be authorized to take it up and form it on the 
comprehensive basis of all the useful sciences. 

The inauspicious commencement of our war x has 
damped at first the hopes of fulfilling your injunctions 
to add the Floridas and Canada to our confederacy. 
The former indeed might have been added but for our 
steady adherence to the sound principles of National 
integrity, which forbade us to take what was a neigh- 
bor's merely because it suited us; and especially from 
a neighbor under circumstances of peculiar affliction. 
But seeing now that his afflictions do not prevent him 
from making those provinces a focus of hostile and 
savage combinations for the massacre of our women 
and children by the tomahawk and scalping knife of 
the Indian, these scruples must yield to the necessities 
of self-defence: and I trust that the ensuing session of 
Congress will authorize the incorporation of it with 
ourselves. Their inhabitants universally wish it and 
they are in truth the only legitimate proprietors of the 

i The War of 1812. 

148 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

soil & government. Canada might have been ours in 
the preceding year but for the treachery of our General 
who unfortunately commanded on it's border. There 
could have been no serious resistance to the progress of 
the force he commanded, in it's march through Upper 
Canada, but he sold and delivered his army, fortified 
and furnished as it was, to an enemy one fourth his 
number. This was followed by a series of losses flow- 
ing from the same source of unqualified commanders. 
Carelessness, cowardice, foolhardiness & sheer imbe- 
cility lost us 4 other successive bodies of men, who 
under faithfull and capable leaders would have saved 
us from the affliction and the English from the crime 
of the thousands of men, women & children murdered 
& scalped by the savages under the procurement & 
direction of British officers, some on capitulation, some 
in the field, & some in their houses and beds. The 
determined bravery of our men, whether regulars or 
militia, evidenced in every circumstance when the 
treachery or imbecility of their commanders permitted, 
still kept up our confidence and sounder and abler men 
now placed at their head have given us possession of 
the whole of Upper Canada & the lakes. At the mo- 
ment I am writing I am in hourly expectation of learn- 
ing that Gen. Wilkinson, who about the loth inst was 
entering the Lake of St. Francis In his descent upon 
Montreal has taken possession of it, the force of the 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 149 

enemy there being not such as to give us much appre- 
hension. Between that place and Quebec there is 
nothing to stop us but the advance of the season. 

The achievements of our little navy have claimed 
and obtained the admiration of all, in spite of the 
endeavors of the English by lying misrepresentations 
of the force of the vessels on both sides to conceal the 
truth. The loss indeed of half a dozen frigates and 
sloops of war is no sensible diminution of numbers to 
them; but the loss of the general opinion that they 
were invincible at sea, the lesson taught to the world 
that they can be beaten by an equal force, has, by it's 
moral effect lost them half their physical force. I con- 
sider ourselves as now possessed of everything from 
Florida point to the walls of Quebec. This last place is 
not worth the blood it would cost. It may be consid- 
ered as impregnable to an enemy not possessing the 
water. I hope therefore we shall not attempt it, but 
leave it to be voluntarily evacuated by it's inhabitants, 
cut off from all resources of subsistence by the loss of 
the upper country. 

I will ask you no questions, my friend, about your 
return to the U.S. At your time of life it is scarcely 
perhaps advisable. An exchange of the society, the 
urbanity, and the real comforts to which you have 
been formed by the habits of a long life, would be a 
great and real sacrifice. Whether therefore I shall ever 

150 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

see you again, or not, let me live in your esteem, as you 
ever will in mine, most affectionately and devotedly. 


P.S. Monticello, Dec. 14. We have been dis- 
appointed in the result of the expedition against 
Montreal. The sd. in command who had been de- 
tached ashore with a large portion of the army, failing 
to join the main body according to orders at the en- 
trance of the Lake St. Francis, the enterprise was of 
necessity abandoned at that point, and the inclemency 
of the winter being already set in, the army was forced 
to go into winter quarters near that place. Since the 
date of my letter I have received yours of Sep. 18. & a 
printed copy of your plan of national education of 
which I possessed the MS. If I can get this translated 
and printed it will contribute to advance the public 
mind to undertake the institution. The persuading 
those of the benefit of science who possess none, is a 
slow operation. 

MONTICELLO, Feb. 28. 15 
M. Dupont de Nemours * 


My last to you was of Nov. 29. & Dec. 14. 13. since 
which I have received your's of July I4. 2 I have to 

1 Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.), xrv, 255-58, Du Pont 
probably did not receive this letter. See Jefferson's of May 15. 
* Not discovered. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 151 

congratulate you, which I do sincerely on having got 
back from Robespierre and Bonaparte, to your ante- 
revolutionary condition. 1 You are now nearly where 
you were at the Jeu de paume on the 20th of June 1789. 
The king would then have yielded by convention[J 
freedom of religion, freedom of the press, trial by jury, 
Habeas corpus, and a representative legislature. These 
I consider as the essentials constituting free govern- 
ment, and that the organization of the Executive is 
interesting, as it may ensure wisdom and integrity in 
the first place, but next as it may favor or endanger the 
preservation of these fundamentals. Altho* I do not 
think the late Capitulation of the King quite equal to 
all this, yet believing his dispositions to be moderate 
and friendly to the happiness of the people, and seeing 
that he is without the bias of issue, I am in hopes your 
patriots may, by constant and prudent pressure, obtain 
from him what is still wanting to give you a temperate 
degree of freedom and security. Should this not be 
done, I should really apprehend a relapse into discon- 
tents, which might again let in Bonaparte. 

Here, at length, we have peace. But I view it as an 
armistice only, because no provision is made against 
the practice of impressment. As this then will revive in 
the first moment of a war in Europe, it's revival will be 
a declaration of war here. Our whole business in the 

1 Referring to the first Bourbon restoration. 

152 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

mean time ought to be a sedulous preparation for it, 
fortifying our seaports, filling our magazines, classing 
and disciplining our militia, forming officers, and above 
all establishing a sound system of finance. You will see 
by the want of system in this last department^ and even 
the want of principles, how much we are in arrears in 
that science. With sufficient means in the hands of our 
citizens, and sufficient will to bestow them on the 
government, we are floundering in expedients equally 
unproductive and ruinous; and proving how little are 
understood here those sound principles of political 
economy first developed by the Economists, since com- 
mented and dilated by Smith, Say, yourself, and the 
luminous Reviewer of Montesquieu. I have been en- 
deavoring to get the able paper on this subject, which 
you addressed to me in July 1810, and enlarged in a 
copy recieved the last year, translated & printed here 
in order to draw the attention of our citizens to this 
subject; but have not as yet succeeded. Our printers 
are enterprising only in novels and light reading. The 
readers of works of science, altho' in considerable 
number, are so sparse in their situations, that such 
works are of slow circulation. But I shall persevere* 

This letter will be delivered to you by Mr. Ticknor, 1 
a young gentleman from Massachusetts of much erudi- 

1 George Ticknor (1791-1871). He never entered political life, but 
later filled with great distinction the chair of modern languages at 
Harvard and became a noted writer on Spanish literature. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 153 

tion and great merit. He has compleated his course of 
law reading, and, before entering on the practice, 
proposes to pass two or three years in seeing Europe, 
and adding to his stores of knoledge what he can ac- 
quire there* Should he enter the career of politics in 
his own country, he will go far in obtaining it's honors 
and powers. He is worthy of any friendly offices you 
may be so good as to render him, and to his acknoledg- 
ments of them will be added my own. By him I send 
you a copy of the Review of Montesquieu, from my own 
shelf, the impression being, I believe, exhausted by the 
late President of the College of Williamsburg having 
adopted it as the elementary book there. I am persuad- 
ing the author to permit me to give his name to the 
public, and to permit the original to be printed in 
Paris. Altho 5 your presses, I observe, are put under the 
leading strings of your government, yet this is such a 
work as would have been licensed at any period, early 
or late, of the reign of Louis XVI. Surely the present 
government will not expect to repress the progress of 
the public mind farther back than that. I salute you 
with all veneration and affection. 


154 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 



MONTTCELLO, May 15. 15 
M. Dupont de Nemours x 


The newspapers tell us you are arrived in the U.S. I 
congratulate my country on this as a manifestation that 
you consider it's civil advantages as more than equiva- 
lent to the physical comforts and social delights of a 
country which possesses both in the highest degree of 
any one on earth. You despair of your country, and so 
do I. 2 A military despotism is now fixed upon it perma- 
nently, especially if the son of the tyrant should have 
virtues and talents. What a treat would it be to me, 
to be with you, and to learn from you all the intrigues, 
apostasies and treacheries which have produced this 
last death's blow to the hopes of France. For, altho* 
not in the will, there was in the imbecility of the Bour- 
bons a foundation of hope that the patriots of France 
might obtain a moderate representative government. 
Here you will find rejoicings on this event, and by a 
strange quid pro quo, not by the party hostile to liberty^ 

1 Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.), xrv, 29798. 
* Napoleon had returned from Elba. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 155 

but by it's zealous friends. In this they see nothing but 
the scourge reproduced for the back of England. They 
do not permit themselves to see in it the blast of all the 
hopes of mankind, and that however it may jeopardize 
England, it gives to her self-defence the lying counte- 
nance again of being the sole champion of the rights of 
man, to which, in all other nations she is most adverse. 
I wrote to you on the 2 8th of February, by a Mr. Tick- 
nor, then proposing to sail for France: but the con- 
clusion of peace induced him to go first to England. I 
hope he will keep my letter out of the post offices of 
France; for it was not written for the inspection of 
those now in power. You will now be a witness of our 
deplorable ignorance in finance and political economy 
generally. I mentioned in my letter of Feb. that I was 
endeavoring to get your memoir on that subject 
printed: I have not yet succeeded. I am just setting 
out to a distant possession of mine and shall be absent 

three weeks. God bless you. 




May 26, 1815 

To Mr. Jefferson 


I had counted on bringing you news myself of my 
arrival in America, But your papers are very indiscreet 

156 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

and I stayed with my children, surrounded by my 
grandchildren,, longer than I had intended. 

The hope of finding at Monticello a brother in 
political economy, a master in philosophy, greatly 
entered into my choice of a retreat, if it Is a retreat. 

I do not yet think that it is one. I consider my trip 
and my sojourn only as the acquisition of a new and 
more peaceful study in which I shall be able to work at 
improving myself, ripening my ideas, collecting them 
better, setting them forth with more order and ability 
under the eyes of men whom GWis calling, or will call, 
and planning and drafting constitutions and laws. 

Scarcely twice in my long life have I been so fortun- 
ate as to be satisfied with my work. I have had busy at 
one and the same time my two hands, my two eyes, and 
the two sides of my head with entirely different mat- 
ters, one of which was always harmful to the others. 
The duties of an administrator and the affairs of a 
paterfamilias offered too many distractions to the phi- 

Today I am morally sure of my dinner. 

I have no uneasiness for my children. They have 
always been men of uprightness, probity, and courage. 
They can usefully serve the country in which I be- 
lieved it my duty to locate them. They have acquired 
extraordinary capabilities. If they use them in procur- 
ing for my grandchildren an absolutely independent 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 157 

existence., they can leave them among the freest and 
most enlightened of their enlightened and free citizens. 

They have had wives both beautiful and good. Men 
are made like merinos; and for every animal having an 
equal number of both sexes and upon reaching its full 
maturity God imagined love, in order to pair off the 
races. I have, therefore, sufficiently good reasons for 
hoping that under a government in which the nobility 
is not hereditary and influences marriages in no way, my 
family will become illustrious and will deserve to be so. 

I no longer have any positive engagements to any 
political state. 

I do not have to fear either being called to an office 
or driven from one. 

I shall not have to deliver extempore speeches in an 
assembly, or write them the evening before for a privy 
council or a legislative committee. 

I shall have time to cultivate whatever reasoning 
powers God has been so good as to give me, and to 
consider and restrain the impetuousness which He also 
gave me. 

I have as yet been only an active young man with 
kindly feelings. My white hair asks and insists that I at 
length be something more. 

1 shall be able to consult Jefferson and Correa. 1 No 
emperor has two advisers of such weight. 

1 See note on Jefferson's letter of November 29, 1813. 

158 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

So we shall not work for empires, but for the world 
and future centuries. 

The combination of circumstances is favorable to it. 

Ten or twelve great republics are in process of forma- 
tion on your continent. They will be established and 
consolidated even if some of them might be temporarily 
vanquished by force or the weakness of Spain. 

Three of these already united republics have done 
me the honor of consulting me. 

They will all consolidate and that too with your 
victorious republic which will give them good ex- 
amples and likewise be able to receive some. 

These confederations, if they are well conceived and 
wisely contracted, will be able to make of America an 
immense republic, having a length of two thousand 
leagues and an average width of five hundred leagues. 
Then we shall laugh at those who believed for such a 
long time that no republic could be organized outside 
of the precincts of a small town or a small canton. 

We shall laugh at them, but with indulgent modera- 
tion. They had no idea of a representative government, and 
they had experienced the danger of stormy assemblies. 

Representative governments, begun in England and 
vastly improved in the United States by houses which 
are not hereditary, have as yet nowhere reached the 
perfection of which they are capable. It would have 
been necessary to "commencer par le commencement," that 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 159 

is, with a good, communal constitution [constitution de 
commune], the very principles of which are not yet stated 
in any country. 

But from the very establishment of communes that 
are just, reasonable, and well administered, there is 
nothing easier than to institute, with a certain number 
of these good communes, good cantons; then with these 
good cantons, good districts; with the good districts, 
good circles; with the good circles, excellent republics; 
with these excellent republics, powerful and peaceful 

The present morass of Spanish America, from which 
it must extricate itself through governments, seems to 
me to offer more opportunities for having them good 
than the warlike storm of Europe. My reason for this 
opinion and this hope is that America as yet has no 
princes, except a poor King of Portugal whose example 
is a temptation to no one. 

The commanders of the insurgents will not easily be 
able to become princes or kings. They are compelled 
to arm their people for independence, and your United 
States when they gained theirs did not crown Washing- 
ton: the help which they will have to give in arms and 
munitions will add weight to their example. 

As soon as American liberty is definitely assured 
against the absurd and proud and greedy pretensions 
of Europe, the inhabitants of each natural division 

160 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

indicated by mountains and rivers will think of giving 
themselves a fatherland, and their chiefs will be happy 
to be its officers. 

That will be a matter of a very small number of 
years, during which wretched Europe will be given 
over to a frightful war; but the results of this will not 
be as serious as we shall be made to believe. 

Military despotism will not be able to maintain it- 
self. The nations could never supply armies in suf- 
ficient numbers, Buonaparte and his army today in- 
voke republican ideas, or even more than republican, 
popular ideas, hatred against the nobles, against the 
priests, against bad taxes. There is but a step from this 
state of mind to revolt against kings. In two years the 
Emperor Napoleon will find that he is no longer able to 
satisfy both his troops and his subjects. The embar- 
rassing situation in which he will find himself would 
lead rather to a new ochlocracy than to a continuation 
of an arbitrary and absolute government. 

About the same time, Germany, Italy, and England 
perhaps, will get tired fighting for a family which they 
could not uphold even if their soldiers succeeded in re- 
turning it to France, because there is no longer any 
belief in its promises and because national pride is too 
deeply hurt. The great probability is that Germany, 
Italy, and England even, will send away their kings, 
and will renounce not only the kings but also royalty. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 161 

None of these countries, however, will be willing to 
obey Buonaparte, for his royalty would be very severe 
for those foreign countries, and he will no longer have 
the necessary strength to force them. Will his empire 
remain alone in the midst of these new republics? And 
will these agree to bad constitutions when America has 
a good one? Nil desperandum. 

I am sorry because I am old; and much more so, be- 
cause the transition to free governments must cost so 
much blood. Not a drop would have been spilled, had 
not the detestable Lameths x profaned the French 
revolution by the seditions which they and their friends 
organized. But anent that, what is done, is done. A 
part of what there is to do, for the better, for the worse, 
has become inevitable. Let us try to soften and shorten 
these calamities. That is a very noble mission. 

My kind Jefferson, let your intelligence help my 
courage in this matter. My calculations on the differ- 
ent periods of life promise me still about eight years. 
You are three years younger than I am and I think 
that your health is better than mine. 

Let us not die without putting the time that is left us 
to great profit. 

I send you my deepest and tenderest regards. 


1 Each of the three Lameth brothers, Alexandre, Theodore, and 
Charles-Malo-Frangois, played a part in the French Revolution. The 
former, with Barnave and Adrien Duport, led the party of the left in the 

1 62 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

My wife was sick when I left. She was unable to 
follow me. I expect her in several months or a year at 
the latest. Until she arrives, I shall have but half of my 
spirits. She is a great support to me. Her head and 
her heart are full of excellent counsel. 

But I could not await the arrival of that hypocrite 
Buonaparte in Paris. 1 I knew how Cicero was hoaxed 
because he believed the promises of Octavius. And 
whatever good work I can still do did not allow me to 
run the risk of dying in a cell, because of refusals which 
it would have become me proudly to make. 

I count on going with Correa and spending several 
days at Monticello, when we learn that you are back. 

MONTICELLO June 6. 15 
M. Dupont de Nemours 


I am just returned from the journey mentioned in 
mine of May 15. and find here yours of May 26. I see 
that you do not despair of your country, but I confess 
I foresee no definite term to the despotism now re- 
established there, and the less as the nation seems to 

Constituent Assembly. He is chiefly noted for a speech of February 28, 
1791, against Mirabeau. See F. A. AulardL, Les Orateurs de VAssemblee 

1 As Secretary of the Provisional Government, Du Pont had signed the 
decree of deposition of Napoleon. See Moniteur Universe! 3 April 3, 1814. 
He had good reason to fear the wrath of the Corsican and vented his 
dislike by using the Italian spelling of the latter's name. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 163 

have voluntarily assumed the yoke, and to have made, 
of an usurper, a legitimate despot. What can we hope 
from a mind without moral principle, and without that 
sound wisdom which acts morally, by mere calcula- 
tion, on the common observation that honesty is the 
best policy. But come yourself & Correa, & let us talk 
this over together. We wish alike, but we are not 
equally sanguine in our prospects. And come soon, as 
your letter gives me to hope; and the more pressingly 
as within about eight weeks I am to commence an 
absence of two months from home. You are not un- 
apprised by experience what you are to suffer from the 
mauvaise cuisinerie of our country. Mr Correa had prom- 
ised me a long visit for this summer. His undertaking 
a course of lectures in Philadelphia had made me fear it 
would be retarded by that. But the more a man is 
master of his subject, the more briefly and densely he is 
able to present it to others. We shall have subjects too 
to grieve over. The desperate ignorance of our country 
in political economy, and it's limited views of science. 
But come both of you, and we will settle the affairs of 
both hemispheres, if not as they shall be, yet as they 
ought to be. I salute you, and him through you, with 
sincere affection & respect. 


164 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 



July 24, 1815 

Thomas Jefferson 

Late President of the United States 


We were to leave tomorrow, my good friend Correa 
and I, to see you at Monticello. Neither of us was able 
to get ready sooner. 

But as we had to go to Washington and stop there a 
while, we feared that the slightest accident on the way 
would delay us and keep us from presenting ourselves 
at your door until after your departure, announced for 
August 6, or so near that date that we should bother 
you or upset your plans. 

So we are postponing this trip, which will give us so 
much pleasure, until your return which we look for- 
ward to between October 6 and 10. 

I have the keenest desire to see you, and I hope to 
every year, for I shall never leave America again. 

Accept my most respectful greetings. 


MONTICELLO, Xber [December] 10, 1815 
To Thomas Jefferson, Philosopher 

I have just spent three days in your house, over- 
whelmed by the kindness of Mrs. Randolph and by 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 165 

the pleasure of seeing your grown and lovely grand- 
daughters as well as the wholly charming little one. 1 

Correa says that I absolutely must leave, if I do not 
wish to be stopped by the rigors of winter, and so be 
compelled to impose on you for three months. 

He left day before yesterday. I have stayed on two 
days longer, in the hope of seeing you come in any 
minute. 2 

I would have willingly braved the storms of winter. 
I have traveled in Poland in the snows. But my son, 
who left his business to accompany me, is compelled to 
return, and I am so ignorant of the English language, 
when I have to speak it or listen to it, that he is almost 
indispensable to me when I travel. 

I have, however, determined, in order to learn some- 
thing of this language (which a friend of America can- 
not do without here), to start the work which you 
asked me to translate into English my work on 

1 It is impossible justly to apportion the blame for the unfortunate 
mishap which caused Du Pont to miss Jefferson at Monticello. The 
latter *s explanation is given in his letter of December 31, 1815, below. 
Francis Walker Gilmer in a letter to William Wirt, January, 1816, said 
that Jefferson had "lately suffered the celebrated Du Pont de Nemours, 
a grave senator of France, near 80 years of age, to visit him at Monticello, 
stay a week and not see him." W. P. Trent, English Culture in Virginia 
(1889), pp, 41-42 note. Du Pont was entertained in Jefferson's absence 
by the latter's daughter Martha, wife of Thomas Mann Randolph. 

3 Jefferson endorsed this letter, "reed. Dec. 15," though whether or 
not at Monticello he does not say. He wrote Du Pont from there Decem- 
ber 31. 

1 66 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

I am leaving the first pages of this with you. You will 
tell me if I am to continue or abandon this enterprise. 
I do not forget that, if I persist in this work, you have 
promised me your excellent pen to correct my bad Eng- 
lish before the work goes to press. 

I am also leaving with you two other works, and I 
greatly desire that the most ambitious of these seem 
worthy of your attention and earn your approval. 

The three united republics of New Granada, Carta- 
gena, and Caraccas x have asked me for my ideas about 
the constitution on which they would like to settle, 
looking upon their present condition only as revolu- 
tionary and temporary. 

I think that there can be twelve great Spanish re- 
publics in America, and that they ought to confederate 
as much with one another as with your United States. 
And I am trying to apply to them as much as their 
local conditions will permit the projects which my 
friends and I had formulated for the re-establishment 
of the French Republic, if we had been able as we 
wished to overthrow Buonaparte without receiving 
or accepting other kings. 

The third work, of which I beg you to accept a copy, 

1 New Granada was the name generally given the districts comprised 
in the present states of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, which re- 
volted against Spain in 1811 and were united to form the Republic of 
Colombia in 1819. Venezuela was sometimes called Caracas from its 
chief city, Cartagena was a city of the present Colombia. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 167 

was made while crossing the ocean, and treats only of 
matters very well known to you as well as to the 
estimable writer for whom I have drawn them up. 
But you will find there (pages 36 to 44) a very long 
note which contains what I thought of Buonaparte, 
upon leaving France, with an addition on what I think 
today of his subsequent conduct and the misfortunes 
of my country. Alas, it will perish, and will drag down 
Europe in its fall. 

Germany's fall, Italy's and England's will not be 
long in following ours. 

If it should happen, however, that this is somewhat 
delayed, it is certain that England will make another 
bloody war on you, preparations for which she i$ not 
hiding. She will make this war as much through 
hatred as in order to have a pretext for preserving her 
standing army which she had no intention of reform- 
ing, and which is of great interest to her ministry be- 
cause of positions which can be given and purchases 
which can be made. 

If this war takes place, I desire my children, my 
grandchildren, and myself, in spite of my age, to be 
considered as faithful Americans and valiant repub- 

That is one of the reasons which make me urge you 
and beg you to exert all your influence with the Presi- 
dent to have an appointment issued as midshipman for 

1 68 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

one of the children of my elder son, who gives great 
promise. 1 

The Du Fonts, beginning with Pontius Commimus, 
who bore letters from Camillas to the Capitoline, and 
crossed the Tiber without a boat without knowing how 
to swim, have always been men of resolution and re- 
source. I do not want them to be mere wealth of no 
value or an unfortunate acquisition for any country, 
much less yours. 

My son and I would not have bothered you, did we 
not know that such applications are very numerous and 
that only those highly recommended can hope to suc- 
ceed. We add a word on what may militate against 
my grandson, born in America long after his father was 
made a citizen of the United States, and consequently 
by no means a foreigner. 

You know the warm and tender feeling that I have 
for you. 


WASHINGTON CITY, Xber [December] 20, 1815 
To Mr. Jefferson 


You will have understood, despite the marks of kind- 

1 See the following letter for the appointment. Samuel Francis du Pont 
(1803-1865), son of Victor and grandson of Pierre Samuel, became a 
distinguished naval officer and served conspicuously in the Mexican and 
Civil Wars. He attained the rank of rear-admiral. See article by Chas. CX 
Paullin, Dictionary of American Biography, vol. v (in press). 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 169 

ness with, which your daughter overwhelmed me, how 
greatly I regretted missing you at Monticello. 

If you have read the pamphlet for the Equinoctial 
Republics, I would be obliged to you if you would re- 
turn it to me directly if your franking privilege per- 
mits, or through the agency either of the President or 
the Minister of State, who will have it forwarded to me 
by virtue of their franking privilege. 

I shall send you another copy which I am having 
made on the [illegible]. 

But I need to give that one to Don Pedro Gual who 
has been sent to the United States by the republics 
which have consulted me and which are united under 
the name of Mew Granada. It is possible that General 
Palacios has never received a single one of the two 
copies that I drew up for him; and the opportunity to 
send a third one through the personal medium of a 
civil agent of these republics is not to be lost. 

I send my respects to Mrs. Randolph, to the other 
lovely ladies and young misses, and even to Miss 
Septimia, 1 whom I must also call in your strange 
and unreasonable English language "y our great [sic] 
daughter/ 5 although she is a very little girl and even one 
of the prettiest little girls created by God. 

I offer my tenderest and most affectionate greetings. 


* Septimia Anne Gary Randolph. 

1 70 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

We leave Washington tomorrow. Correa will be 
with us at Eleutherian Mill on the first of January. We 
shall drink to your health with as much veneration as 

Xber 21. The President and the Secretary of the 
Navy have just appointed my grandson a midship- 
man,, the position we wished for him. 

It is needless, therefore, for you to use your kindness 
in that matter, but we still are none the less grateful. 

MONTICELLO, Dec. 31. 15 

M. Dupont de Nemours ^ 

Nothing, my very dear and ancient friend, could 
have equaled the mortification I felt on my arrival at 
home, and receipt of the information that I had lost the 
happiness of your visit. The season had so far ad- 
vanced, and the weather become so severe, that to- 
gether with the information given me by Mr. Correa, 
so early as September, that your friends even then were 
dissuading the journey, I had set it down as certain it 
would be postponed to a milder season of the ensuing 
year. I had yielded, therefore, with the less reluctance 
to a detention in Bedford 2 by a slower progress of my 
workmen than had been counted on. I have never 
more desired any thing than a full and free conversa- 

* Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Memorial ed.), xrv, 369-73. 
a At Poplar Forest. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 171 

tion with you. I have not understood the transactions 
in France during the years 14 and 15. From the news- 
papers we cannot even conjecture the secret and real 
history: and I had looked for it to your visit. A pam- 
phlet (Le Conciliateur] received from M. Jullien, had 
given me some idea of the obliquities & imbecilities of 
the Bourbons, during their first restoration. Some ma- 
neuvers of both parties I had learnt from La Fayette, 
and more recently from Gallatin. But the note you 
referred me to at page 360 of your letter to Say x has 
possessed me more intimately of the views, the conduct 
and consequences of the last apparition of Napoleon. 
Still much is wanting. I wish to know what were the 
intrigues which brought him back, and what those 
which finally crushed him? What parts were acted by 
A, B, C, D, &c. some of whom I know, & some I 
do not? How did the body of the nation stand affeo 
tioned, comparatively, between the fool and the ty- 
rant? &c., &c., &c. 

From the account my family gives me of your sound 
health, and of the vivacity & vigor of your mind, I will 
still hope we shall meet again, and that the fine tem- 
perature of our early summer, to wit of May and June, 
may suggest to you the salutary effects of exercise, and 
change of air and scene. En attendant, we will turn to 
other subjects. 

1 Probably referring to the note mentioned in Du Font's letter of 
December i o, 1815. 

172 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

That your opinion of the hostile intentions of Great 
Britain toward us is sound, I am satisfied, from her 
movements North and South of us, as well as from her 
temper. She feels the gloriole of her late golden achieve- 
ments tarnished by our successes against her by sea and 
land; and will not be contented until she has wiped it 
off by triumphs over us also. I rely however on the 
Volcanic state of Europe to present other objects for 
her arms and her apprehensions; and am not without 
hope we shall be permitted to proceed peaceably in 
making children, and maturing and moulding our 
strength & resources. It is impossible that France 
should rest under her present oppressions and humilia- 
tions. She will rise in that gigantic strength which can- 
not be annihilated, and will fatten her fields with the 
blood of her enemies. I only wish she may exercise 
patience and forbearance until divisions among them 
may give her a choice of sides. 

To the overwhelming power of England I see but 
two chances of limit. The first is her bankruptcy, 
which will deprive her of the golden instrument of all 
her successes. The other is that ascendancy which 
nature destines for us by immutable laws. But to 
hasten this last consummation, we too must exercise 
patience & forbearance. For 20. years to come we 
should consider peace as the summum bonum of our 
country. At the end of that period we shall be 20. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 173 

millions in number, and 40. in energy, when encounter- 
ing the starved & rickety paupers and dwarfs of Eng- 
lish workshops. By that time I hope your grandson will 
have become one of our High-admirals/ and bear dis- 
tinguished part in retorting the wrongs of both his 
countries on the most implacable and cruel of their 

In this hope, & because I love you, and all who are 
dear to you, I wrote to the President in the instant of 
reading your letter of the yth on the subject of his 
adoption into our navy. I did it because I was gratified 
in doing it, while I knew it was unnecessary. The sin- 
cere respect and high estimation in which the President 
holds you, is such that there is no gratification, within 
the regular exercise of his functions, which he would 
withhold from you. Be assured then that, if within 
that compass, this business is safe. 

Were you any other than whom you are, I should 
shrink from the task you have proposed to me, of under- 
taking to judge of the merit of your own translation of 
the excellent letter on education. After having done all 
which good sense & eloquence could do on the original, 
you must not ambition the double meed of English 
eloquence also. Did you ever know an instance of one 
who could write in a foreign language with the ele- 
gance of a native? Cicero wrote Commentaries of his 

* See note on Du Font's letter of December io a 1815. 

174 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

own Consulship in Greek. They perished unknown, 
while his native compositions have immortalized him 
with themselves. No, my dear friend; you must not 
risk the success of your letter on foreignisms of style 
which may weaken it's effect. Some native pen must 
give it to our countrymen in a native dress, faithful to 
its original. You will find such with the aid of our 
friend Correa, who knows every body, and will read- 
ily think of some one who has time and talent for this 
work. I have neither. Till noon I am daily engaged in 
a correspondence much too extensive and laborious 
for my age. From noon to dinner health, habit, and 
business require me to be on horseback; and render 
the society of my family & friends a necessary relaxa- 
tion for the rest of the day. These occupations scarcely 
leave time for the papers of the day; and to renounce 
entirely the sciences and belles-lettres is impossible. Had 
not Mr. Gilmer just taken his place in the ranks of the 
bar, I think we could have engaged him in this work. 
But I am persuaded that Mr. Correa's intimacy with 
the persons of promise in our country will leave you 
without difficulty in laying this work of instruction 
open to our citizens at large. 

I have not yet had time to read your Equinoctial 
republics, nor the letter of Say; because I am still en- 
grossed by the letters which had accumulated during 
my absence. The latter I accept with thankfulness, and 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 175 

will speedily read and return the former. God bless 
you, and maintain you in strength of body and mind, 
until your own wishes be to resign both. 


M. Du Pont de Nemours 


A mail left us this morning which carried my letter 
of Dec. 31. The messenger returning from the post 
office brings me yours of Dec. 20. requesting the im- 
mediate return of your letter to the equinoctial re- 
publics. I had just entered on the reading of it, & got 
to the xoth page: but on the receipt of your letter, as 
another mail goes out tomorrow morning, and no other 
under a week, I now inclose it, in the hope you will be 
able to lend me another copy which shall be safely and 
speedily returned to you. If Mr Gorrea be with you, be 
so good as to tell him that I wrote to him by the mail 
this morning, covering several letters to him, and not 
knowing whether he would be in Philadelphia I 
directed my letter to the care of Mr Vaughan, from 
whom he can have it brought in one day to the 
Eleutherian mills. The papers by this mail tell us thro* 
Fouche that the daughter of Louis XVI is aiming at 
the crown, the Salic law notwithstanding. The empty 
acclamations of the populace have turned her head. 

176 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

which I suspect is modelled more in the form of the 
mother's than the reputed father's. Our family all join 
in affection to you, including even the little Septimia, 
who retains the recollection and name of the bons-bons 
& their giver. I salute you as ever with cordial affec- 
tion & respect. 


ELEUTHERIAN, March 31, 1816 
To Mr. Jefferson 


I have the honor to return to you my small gospel for 
the use of the Spanish republics, which I had brought 
to you four months ago. 

I have had, thank God, and I shall have several more 
copies to give; and I have only one secretary. More- 
over, I have a great failing: pressed by age and circum- 
stance, I am busy with several pieces of work at the 
same time. I know that this is not a good method in 
fact, it is no method at all. 

But in the storms of the world, life is not an occupa- 
tion which one has time to regulate. It is a state of war 
and flood in which one must rush to the side on which 
the torrent, need, and the enemy occur. 

This work on the republics which are in the borning, 
or about to be born or restored, is one of my writings 
for which I should most desire your vote and your 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Jiemours 177 

I should like to find a good writer to translate it into 

I did not think I ought to have it printed in French 
before handing in my resignation as privy councillor. 1 
I have withheld this resignation because I have in 
Paris my wife, who has been wounded for sixteen 
months from a fall from which she will remain lame, as 
yet being unable to leave her room and almost her bed. 
My 1 3th chapter might bring persecution upon her 
head, or at least expose about a hundred boxes con- 
taining my life's work to the danger of being taken, as 
matter of safety, to the Minister of Police, who would 
have them cast in the fire or destroyed. 

I should like for the poor woman to be able to send 
me one at a time the most important of these boxes, 
which I prefer to leave behind me in America rather 
than in Europe. Some day some one of my grandsons 
will benefit from them. 

I am not sure of not returning to that sad Europe 
whose overthrow I consider complete and inevitable. 
With the assurance of work lacking and France having 
to pay, not only without but also the foreign bandits 
within, double that which she can, it is almost im- 
possible for despair from within not to lead to attempts 
against the troops, the overthrow of the government, 

* Du Pont was Councillor of State under the short-lived Restoration 
of 1814-1815. 

178 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

the division of the country perhaps, general pillaging 
certainly) and the wasting of almost all the capital that 
remains. This disorder cannot take place in France 
without teaching to the lowest classes of the people of 
Prussia, of the small German kingdoms, and finally of 
Austria, who have been made to leave their useful 
labors for the Landwehr, worthy sister to conscription 
and even more cruel, that nothing can be refused to 
the crowd when it wishes to seize. It will seize and 
the soldiers will set themselves at its head. The 
conflagration will reach Italy and even England, who 
in her madness has ruined her best customs. It is the 
only thing able to save you from war, for if the catas- 
trophe is delayed more than two years, there is no 
doubt that the English will send seventy thousand men 
to accustom you to war, reunite you, liberate you 
and make you pay very dearly for this useful c 'im- 

There will also be a definite improvement in Europe, 
bought at a much greater price than it is really worth, 
bought at the price of half of its inhabitants, three- 
fourths of its wealth, and the scattering of the last 
fourth which will remain for several years practically 
useless for the re-establishment of its work. The new 
governments will not be monarchies. But you can 
judge what a dreadful thing it will be for a philosopher, 
not yet reduced to the uttermost depths of despair, to 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 179 

witness and quite likely be a victim of these tragedies 
as long as they last. 

If I cannot avoid going, I shall perhaps perish in 
prison, perhaps be shot, perhaps be massacred in my 
home, and certainly be villified throughout Paris. 

I am asking my wife to have herself carried on a 
couch by men to Le Havre, and once there lifted on to 
some vessel; get off at Philadelphia or New Castle as 
she had herself put aboard; and we shall have her 
brought here in the same manner as she will have 
traveled in France. But if she cannot physically (for 
morally her courage rises above all difficulties), I can- 
not write to her any longer: "Stay and die; I shall die 
by myself. And so we are separated forever/' I must 
then return and console her a bit, help her, and die by 
her side. How could a person be so pretentious as to be 
good toward the world, if he does not begin with being 
goody very good, within his household? It is within that 
the real and positive duty is found. The rest is always 
contaminated by a touch of vanity. 

Old age gives courage for death. Ask Solon. 

The goodness of God, the intelligence of geniuses who 
approach him more than we, poor humans, can ever 
do, the esteem of those who in the animals of our species 
have more ties of heart and head with those superior 
beings, give courage against slander. You will never be 
persuaded that I pay much attention to titles above 

180 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

which I have tried to set myself, or to money which I 
have always disdained and which would not be given 
to me, anyway; or that, even for glory, if it could be in 
these, would I do or say in any case anything contrary 
to my conscience which my illustrious friends, among 
whom you have a large place, have sufficiently en- 

I am adding to this package, on the question of your 
manufactures, a little note which I think it my duty 
to write, 1 because I am being quoted, as you were, 
against our own advice. 

But it is another matter to administer Europe, where 
Colbert and the English, seduced by luxury, have 
curbed agriculture in order to have beggars, of whom 
workmen are being made at a low wage scale, and 
where the British Parliament has pushed this madness 
to the point of putting in danger the subsistence of a 
seventh of the population of its three kingdoms, instead 
of advancing the destinies of America (who is proceed- 
ing calmly with her imaginary capital, and that too 
with confidence, with reciprocal credit, and with 
paper) ; and these have become as powerful as if they 
were real, because the work effected by them has a 
cash value which, in the long run, pays for everything. 
Your agriculture, to extend even to California, has 

1 Perhaps the same as the "Observations Sommaires swr VutiliU des En~ 
couragemens a dormer aux Manufactures Amfricaines y " in the Francis Walker 
Gilmer Papers, University of Virginia. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 181 

need only of consumers within its reach, and these pay 
for the crops in useful services. 

I present my respects to Mrs. Randolph and to all 
the beautiful young ladies. Miss Septimia included, as 
is fitting. 

And I send you my warmest and most worshipful 


POPLAR FOREST Apr. 24, 16 
M. Dupont de Nemours * 

I recieved, my dear friend, your letter covering the 
Constitution for your Equinoctial republics, just as I 
was setting out for this place. I brought it with me, and 
have read it with great satisfaction. I suppose it well 
formed for those for whom it is intended, and the ex- 
cellence of every government is it's adaptation to the 
state of those to be governed by it. For us it would not 
do. Distinguishing between the structure of the govern- 
ment and the moral principles on which you prescribe 
it's administration, with the latter we concur cordially, 
with the former we should not. We of the United 
States, you know, are constitutionally & conscien- 
tiously Democrats. We consider society as one of the 
natural wants with which man has been created; that 
he has been endowed with faculties and qualities to 

* Printed in Jefferson's Writings (Ford ed.), x, 

1 8s Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

effect it's satisfaction by concurrence of others having 
the same want; that when, by the exercise of these 
faculties., he has procured a state of society, it is one of 
his acquisitions which he has a right to regulate and 
controul, jointly indeed with all those who have con- 
curred in the procurement, whom he cannot exclude 
from it's use or direction more than they him. We 
think experience has proved it safer, for the mass of 
individuals composing the society, to reserve to them- 
selves personally the exercise of all rightful powers to 
which they are competent, and to delegate those to 
which they are not competent to deputies named, and 
removable for unfaithful conduct, by themselves im- 
mediately. Hence, with us, the people (by which is 
meant the mass of individuals composing the society) 
being competent to judge of the facts occurring in 
ordinary life, they have retained the functions of judges 
of facts, under the name of jurors; but being unquali- 
fied for the management of affairs requiring intelligence 
above the common level, yet competent judges of 
human character, they ehuse for their management, 
representatives, some by themselves immediately, 
others by electors chosen by themselves. Thus our 
President is chosen by ourselves, directly in practice, for 
we vote for A. as elector only on the condition he will 
vote for B. our representatives by ourselves immedi- 
ately, our Senate and judges of law through electors 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 183 

chosen by ourselves. And we believe that this proxi- 
mate choice and power of removal is the best security 
which experience has sanctioned for ensuring an honest 
conduct in the functionaries of society. Your three or 
four alembications have indeed a seducing appearance. 
We should conceive, primafacie> that the last extract 
would be the pure alcohol of the substance, three or 
four times rectified. But in proportion as they are more 
and more sublimated, they are also farther and farther 
removed from the controul of the society; and the 
human character, we believe, requires in general con- 
stant and immediate controul, to prevent it's being 
biassed from right by the seductions of self love. Your 
process produces therefore a structure of government 
from which the fundamental principle of ours is ex- 
cluded. You first set down as zeros all individuals not 
having lands, which are the greater number in every 
society of long standing. Those holding lands are per- 
mitted to manage in person the small affairs of their 
commune or corporation, and to elect a deputy for the 
canton; in which election too every one's vote is to be 
an unit, a plurality, or a fraction, in proportion to his 
landed possessions. The assemblies of Cantons then 
elect for the districts; those of Districts for Circles; and 
those of circles for the National assemblies. Some of 
these highest councils too are in a considerable degree 
self-elected 3 the regency partially, the judiciary en- 

184 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

tirely, and some are for life. Whenever therefore an 
esprit de corps, or of party, gets possession of them, 
which experience shews to be inevitable, there are no 
means of breaking it up; for they will never elect but 
those of their own spirit. Juries are allowed in criminal 
cases only. I acknoledge myself strong in affection to 
your own form. Yet both of us act and think from the 
same motive. We both consider the people as our chil- 
dren, & love them with parental affection. But you 
love them as infants whom you are afraid to trust with- 
out nurses; and I as adults whom I freely leave to self- 
government. And you are right in the case referred to 
you; my criticism being built on a state of society not 
under your contemplation. It is, in fact, like a critique 
on Homer by the laws of the Drama. 

But when we come to the moral principles on which 
the government is to be administered, we come to what 
is proper for all conditions of society. I meet you there 
in all the benevolence & rectitude of your native 
character; and I love myself always most where I con- 
cur most with you. Liberty, truth, probity, honor, are 
declared to be the four cardinal principles of your 
society. I believe with you that morality, compassion, 
generosity, are innate elements of the human consti- 
tution; that there exists a right independent of force; 
that a right to property is founded in our natural 
wants, in the means with which we are endowed to 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 185 

satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by 
those means without violating the similar rights of other 
sensible beings; that no one has a right to obstruct an- 
other, exercising his faculties innocently for the relief 
of sensibilities made a part of his nature. That justice 
is the fundamental law of society; that the majority, 
oppressing an individual is guilty of a crime, abuses 
it's strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest 
breaks up the foundations of society; that action by the 
citizens in person, in affairs within their reach and 
competence, and in all others by representatives, 
chosen immediately, & removable by themselves, con- 
stitutes the essence of a republic; that all governments 
are more or less republican in proportion as this princi- 
ple enters more or less into their composition; and that 
a government by representation is capable of extension 
over a greater surface of country than one of any other 
form. These, my friend, are the essentials in which you 
& I agree; however, in our zeal for their maintenance, 
we may be perplexed & divaricate, as to the structure 
of society most likely to secure them. 

In the constitution of Spain as proposed by the late 
Cortes there was a principle entirely new to me, and 
not noticed in yours, that no person, born after that 
day, should ever acquire the rights of citizenship until 
he could read and write. It is impossible sufficiently to 
estimate the wisdom of this provision. Of all those 

1 86 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

which have been thought of for securing fidelity in the 
administration of the government, constant ralliance 
to the principles of the constitution, and progressive 
amendments with the progressive advances of the 
human mind, or changes in human affairs, it is the 
most effectual. Enlighten the people generally, and 
tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish 
like evil spirits at the dawn of day. Altho 3 I do not, 
with some enthusiasts, believe that the human condi- 
tion will ever advance to such a state of perfection as 
that there shall no longer be pain or vice in the world, 
yet I believe it susceptible of much improvement, and, 
most of all, in matters of government and religion; and 
that the diffusion of knoledge among the people is to 
be the instrument by which it is to be effected. The 
constitution of Cortes had defects enough; but when I 
saw in it this amendatory provision, I was satisfied all 
would come right in time, under it's salutary operation. 
No people have more need of a similar provision than 
those for whom you have felt so much interest. No 
mortal wishes them more success than I do. But if 
what I have heard of the ignorance & bigotry of the 
mass, be true, I doubt their capacity to understand and 
to support a free government; and fear that their 
emancipation from the foreign tryanny of Spain, will 
result in a military despotism at home. Palacios may 
be great; others may be great; but it is the multitude 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 187 

which possess force; and wisdom must yield to that. 
For such a condition of society, the constitution you 
have devised is probably the best imaginable. It is 
certainly calculated to elicit the best talents; altho* per- 
haps not well guarded against the egoism of it's func- 
tionaries. But that egoism will be light in comparison 
with the pressure of a military despot, and his array of 
Janissaries. Like Solon, to the Athenians, you have 
given to your Columbians, not the best possible govern- 
ment, but the best they can bear. By the bye, I wish 
you had called them the Columbian republics, to dis- 
tinguish them from our American republics. Theirs 
would be the most honorable name, and they best en- 
titled to it; for Columbus discovered their continent, 
but never saw ours. 

To them liberty and happiness; to you the meed of 
wisdom & goodness in teaching them how to attain 
them, with the affectionate respect and friendship of 


MONTICELLO, Aug. 3, 1 6 
M. Dupont de Nemours * 


I have just received a letter from M. de la Fayette, 
inclosing me a copy of one to you from M. Tracy dated 
Jan. 30. He is, as you know the author of the Review 
of Montesquieu. 2 He sent it to me in the fall of 1809. 

* Printed in Chinard's Jefferson et les Ideologues* pp. 159-61. 
See letter of November 29, 1813, above. 

1 88 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

but it was not till the spring of 1810. that I could en- 
gage the translating and printing of it. Duane then 
undertook both; which he did not complete till July 
1811. On the loth of that month, he sent me a single 
copy, which I inclosed to La Fayette for Mr. Tracy the 
same day, that it might get into the hands of Mr. 
Warden, then on the point of sailing for France. I had 
subscribed for ten copies for myself, with a view of 
sending them to my friends in Europe. These came to 
me some time after. But our non-intercourse law first, 
and then the war rendering the transmission of them 
across the sea impracticable, I distributed them among 
my friends in the different states, that they might 
bring this excellent book into notice. Learning this 
last spring Mr. Gallatin's appointment to Paris, I 
ordered Mr. Dufief of Philadelphia to procure and in- 
close two copies to M. de La Fayette, which he accord- 
ingly did, and had them delivered to Mr. Gallatin. 
The French original is in my hands, and I have it much 
at heart that it should be printed: but my situation 
renders it difficult. Yours is more favorable, and if you 
can effect it, I will send it to you. It is due to the 
author and the world to give it in his own words. 

The IVth volume on Political economy came to my 
hands in the spring of 1812.* The same editor under- 
took it's translation and publication. Two years were 

1 Published as A Treatise on Political Economy (Georgetown, D.G., 1817) . 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 189 

lost in enquiries and urgencies on my part, excuses and 
promises on his; until a letter of Aug. 11. 1814. declared 
to me that, altho 5 he had had it translated, it was not 
in his power to publish it. I then requested a return 
of the original. He claimed the price of the translation, 
which I immediately paid him; but did not recieve the 
work till July or August 1815, Three years being thus 
lost, I first proposed the printing it to Mr. Ritchie of 
Richmond. But he required so long a time for it's 
execution that I thought it better to accept the offer 
of Mr. Milligan of Georgetown to print it immediately, 
promising to revise the translation myself if he would. 
A very long visit to Bedford, a journey to the Peaks of 
Otter, and some geometrical operations in which I 
engaged to ascertain the height of these our highest 
mountains, with the business I found accumulated on 
my return in the winter; put it out of my power to be- 
gin the revision of the translation until January last. 
This is the only period of time delayed in my hands. 
I found the translation a very bad one indeed, done 
by one who understood neither French nor English: 
and I had proceeded too far before it became evident 
that I could have translated it myself in less time than 
the revisal cost rne, I devoted to it five hours a day for 
between two and three months; and on the 6th of 
April only was able to send it to Mr. Milligan. Instead 
of printing it immediately however he now informed 

1 90 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

me he could not begin it till the 4th of July. That day 
being past, and no proof sheet coming to me (for I have 
undertaken to supervise them) I wrote to him on the 
2ist of July to which I have yet no answer. . . . * 

You will thus see, my dear friend, what scenes of 
mortification I have gone thro" with these printers. 
Mr. Tracy has the greatest reason to suppose in- 
attention in me. In may last I wrote la Fayette (for I 
really had not the courage to write Mr. Tracy) some 
account of the causes of the delay of his work: but 
I did not go into particulars minutely, preferring an 
imperfect justification to the risk of giving uneasiness to 
Mr. Tracy by detailing the course of labor and vexa- 
tion I had gone thro 5 . But I would have gone thro 5 ten 
times more to procure for the world the publication of 
this inestimable volume. I have done cheerfully, and 
will yet do what still remains, only regretting the 
apparent cause which Mr. Tracy has of dissatisfaction 
with me. If from these materials, you, who know our 
printers, their position and mine, can make up some- 
thing more of a justification of me, without disquieting 
M. Tracy, you will render me a most acceptable 
service; for his merits as a great author and a good man 
make me set a very high value indeed on his esteem. 
But when I shall be able to get the translation out, 
I cannot tell. Milligan has already shaken my con- 

1 A paragraph, listing his letters to Ritchie and Milligan, is omitted. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 191 

fidence by his delays, and I know not where they are 
to end. I now wish I had given it to Ritchie, altho 3 
the same delays perhaps might have taken place with 
him, I salute you affectionately, 


[Aug. 18. 1816.] 
To Mr. Jefferson 


It has seemed to me that I could not make better 
use of your letter concerning M. de Tracy than to 
send him a copy. This I did. 

As to that part of his work which was not yet 
translated, which has not been well done by the person 
to whom Mr. Duane gave the work, and which you 
have either translated, or corrected, I am rather in- 
clined to think that you should give it to Mr. Milligan 
to be printed, as he in collaboration with Mr. R. Chew- 
Weightman has made a superb edition of Malthus at 

But I shall ask you if this new volume is a continua- 
tion of the Commentary on the Spirit of the Laws or a 
particular treatise on political economy, following se- 
quelly the other work because of the analogy of subject 

If the first is the case, it would be better to have the 
two editions match. 

192 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

But if the second is true, there is no reason for not 
making the edition of this work entirely peculiar to the 
author, more lovely still than his commentary on the 
work of another writer however deserved the suc- 
cess both of the commentator and the original author 
may have been. 

It appeared too that you had thought of putting out 
a French edition. If you still intend to do this, I will 
gladly take it upon myself to correct the proofs. That 
is all in which I could be of use. For you have seen 
how far from being useful in the matter of an English 
edition I am. 

I shall remain a tolerable French writer. I shall 
never become a good English writer, and pressed by 
age to throw on paper whatever ideas I still may have 
on governments in general and those republics already 
born or to be born in particular, I can no longer give 
to the study of words the strength of which I have not 
any too much for the science of things. I am compelled 
to use the language in which I write with ease. 

How I regret, my dear friend, that you did not have 
my work on education in your country translated six- 
teen years ago. 

It would soon be in full maturity. We have lost ten 
years of public usefulness. 

The classical books can no longer be made in 
Europe. They would be contaminated by the priests. 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 193 

The government of the United States will be un- 
willing to pay for them. That of the republics of 
Spanish or Portugese America will still be for some 
years disturbed by wars in which the real people of the 
country take no interest or part. And after the victory 
of political freedom, the chains of Catholicism, of 
Christianity even (which has not been the religion of 
Jesus Christ since eighteen centuries) will be a weight 
on reason, ethics, philosophy, good sense, justice, and 
will hinder more or less religious liberty and will con- 
tinue to villify God and Men. 

Let us not be discouraged, let us not be downcast, 
my excellent friend. Let us work so long as nature 
leaves us strength. 

As yet we can sow only acorns on land rather badly 
prepared. Oaks will grow under which, some centuries 
after us, men and animals will walk and propagate in 
safety, abundance, and delight. 

I present my homage to your daughter and to her 
lovable daughters, Septimia included. 

And I send you my most cordial and tenderest 



I shall not leave America again. My wife will be 
here next May. I shall not have the happiness of know- 
ing that my death would be useful to France. I must 

1 A marginal note is omitted. 

194 Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson 

endeavor that the rest of my life be useful to the 
United States and the world. Utinam! 

Is it not possible that the reciprocal cruelties between 
the Spaniards of Europe and the Creole Spaniards will 
give birth, among the real natives and the mixed 
bloods, to the idea of letting the white man weaken and 
exterminate himself, then of finishing them all off one 
night or morning, and keeping only the red men? 'Tis 
a sorry uniform, the skin! 

Such a thought can grow in a timid people, long 
insulted and long oppressed by a foreign race. 

There cannot be too much haste in granting full 
rights of citizenship to the men of red or mixed blood; 
or at least to such of them as are landowners or will 
become so. That is the best way of urging men to 
work, of inspiring public spirit, of keeping the interest 
of capital with the lowest possible tax, starting by 
favoring commerce and industry. 

Our science of political economy advances and still 
requires much work. 

That of finance is done but is not ripe; it is far from 
influencing public opinion. 

It has not at all sprouted in your English race which 
still has the bad blood and the bad sense of its fathers. 

My friend, we are snails and we have to climb the 
Cordilleras. By GOD, they must be climbed! 

and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours 195 

Mr. E. I. Dupont * 


Your letter of the nth of Aug. after a long detention 
at Monticello, is received at this place, where I have 
now been upwards of a month. I had seen in the 
publick papers the unwelcome event it announced, & 
also the obituary notice to which your letter refers. 
It was but a modest sketch of the worth of M. Dupont: 
for of no man who has lived could more good have 
been said with more truth. I had been happy in his 
friendship upwards of 30 years, for he was one of my 
early intimates in France. I had witnessed his steady 
virtue, and disinterested patriotism thro' all the vary- 
ing scenes, regular and revolutionary, thro' which that 
unhappy country has been doomed to pass. In these, 
his object never varied, that of the general good. For 
this no man ever labored more zealously or honestly; 
of which he has left abundant monuments. Altho' at 
the age he had attained we were aware that his close 
could not be very distant, yet the moment of it's arrival 
could not fail to afflict us with those sentiments of 
regret which the loss of a beloved friend, a patriot, and 
an honest man, must ever excite. I sincerely condole 
with yourself and his family on the great void in their 

1 Printed in B. G. du Font's ed. 3 National Education in the United States of 
America (1923), pp. xix-xx. 

ig6 Correspondence Between Jefferson and du Pont 

society produced by his loss, of which they will be long 
& deeply sensible. 

I duly received the pamphlet of M. Julien on educa- 
tion, to whom I had been indebted some years before 
for a valuable work on the same subject. Of this I 
expressed to him my high estimation in a letter of 
thanks which I trust he received. The present pam- 
phlet is an additional proof of his useful assiduities on 
this interesting subject, which, if the condition of man 
is to be progressively ameliorated, as we fondly hope 
and believe, is to be the chief instrument in effecting it. 
I salute you with sentiments of great esteem and 




Adams, John, President of the 
United States, and his commis- 
sion, negotiates with the French, 
9 TZ.; mentioned, 34 and n. 

Alexandria, Va., Du Pont proposes 
to settle in, 27 

American Philosophical Society, 
Du Pont chosen a member of, 
15; Jefferson President of, 41 n. 

Antimony, lack of, in U.S., bars 
progress in art of printing, 1 25 

Arabia, and the Floridas, com- 
pared, 63 

Armstrong, John J., and the ship 
New Jersey, 85; Du Pont's dis- 
trust of, 114 

Aubenton, Louis J. M., 13 

Austria, 120 

Average nature, the, how it can 
be raised, 12 

Banks, Sir Joseph, President of 

Royal Society, 42 n. 
Barb6~Marbois, Francois, Marquis 

de, 43, 44 
Barlow, Joel, 137 
Barnave, Joseph, 161 . 
Behring, Mr., 79 

Binney and Ronaldson (Phila.), 126 
Boarding schools, limited scope 

of, in 
Bourbons, later, obliquities and 

imbecilities of, 171 
Briot, M., 89 
Bureau-Pusy, son-in-law of Du 

Pont's second wife. See Pusy 
Burr, Aaron, Du Pont on, 92 and n.; 

Jefferson's account of the con- 

spiracy, 94, 95; his partisans in 
Louisiana made up of fugitives 
from justice, etc., 95; mentioned, 

Canada, necessary to safety of U.S., 
104; should be seized if aban- 
doned by England, but should be 
assisted in any movement for 
freedom, 119; acquisition of, 
defeated by treachery, says Jef- 
ferson, 148 

Caracas (Venezuela), 166 . 

Cartagena, 166 and n. 

Chew-Weightman, Mr., rgi 

Chinard, Gilbert. Jefferson tt Us 
Ideologues, 34 n. 

Cicero, 162 

"Citizens" and "inhabitants," dif- 
ference between, 140 

Civic religion, Du Pont's suggestion 
looking toward the development 
of, n8n. 

Claiborne, William C. C., Governor 
of Territory of Orleans, 89; Jef- 
ferson advises him to place Du 
Pont at the head of the univer- 
sity, 89 

Colbert, Jean-Baptiste, 180 

Coles, Mr., Jefferson's secretary, 
bears letter to Du Pont, 122 

Colleges, limited scope of, 1 1 

Colombia, 166 n. 

Congress of 1801 (Seventh) Jef- 
ferson believes majority of, to be 
in sympathy with his message, 
and that the effect of its proceed- 
ings will be to consolidate well- 



meaning citizens, whether fed- 
eral or republican, 38 

Conquests, Jefferson warned not 
> to attempt, but by every act to 
show his wish to afford protection, 
freedom, and assistance, 120 

Corny, Madame de, 46 

Correa de Serra, Joseph F., Jeffer- 
son's appreciation of, 146 and n.; 
mentioned, 157, 162, 163, 164, 
1653 170, 174, 175 

Council of the Elders, upper cham- 
ber of legislature. Established by 
French Constitution of 1795, 
2 and n.; Dupont's, service in, 
and why he resigned, 2 and n. 

Crowninshield, Benjamin W., 170 

Diplomacy, inhabitants of a re- 
public less suited for, than those 
of nations which have courts, 
109, no 

Drills, military, method of making 
them enjoyable by having them 
on Sundays and followed by 
dancing, 147 

Duane, Mr., 188, 191 

Dufief, Mr., 188 

Du Font de Nemours, Bessie G,, 
translation of Pierre Samuel du 
Font's National Education, 22 n. 

Du Font de Nemours, Eleuthere 
Irenee, his idea concerning the 
gunpowder he makes, 35; deriva- 
tion of his name, 35 and n.; his 
father gives the perfected art of 
gunpowder to the U.S. through, 
87; his father's anticipation of 
his success in the U.S. as a manu- 
facturer, 28 and n.; began to 
construct his own works here in 
1802, 28 n., letter of Jefferson to, 

X 95s J 9^j mentioned, 6 and n. 9 
51, 82,85^1., 93. 9 6 > l6 5 
SAMUEL, his arrival in America, 
3 and n.j Jefferson warns against 
speculators, 4 and .; Jefferson's 
reception of, 4, 5; goes to Phila- 
delphia to meet Jefferson, 5 and 
n.; his friendly feeling toward Jef- 
ferson, 5, 6; himself, his sons, and 
their wives, 6, 7; the qualities 
which led Jefferson to consult 
him about establishing the Uni- 
versity of Virginia, 8; his idea 
as to branches of science and 
groups in which they should be 
classed, 8, 9; his need to be first 
of all a business man, 10; his 
views on national education, 10; 
his opinion as to the comparative 
importance of primary and ele- 
mentary schools and colleges, 
10, n; difficulty in going back 
to our own childhood and seek- 
ing how our natures are formed, 
so as to make the new generation 
as enlightened as our average 
natures permit, 12; raising the 
average nature almost the only 
aim of his ambition, 12, 13; on 
the early education of countrymen, 
13; starts to write Jefferson his 
views on founding a univer- 
sity, 14; chosen a member of 
the American Philosophical So- 
ciety, 15; his work on national 
education finished, 16, 20; but 
not fully copied, 18; his feeling on 
the false report of Jefferson's 
death, 18, 20; his work on nation- 
al education based on a national 
university at Washington, 22; 
which Jefferson disapproves, 



22 n.; on Truxtun and the Ven- 
geance,, 22, 23; anxiety concerning 
the fate of his book, 24; on the 
difficulty of translating his let- 
ters, 24, 30; his wishes for Jef- 
ferson's success as President, 28; 
on Jefferson's only Vice, 30; on 
the number of college graduates 
who want to be lawyers, 32; on 
the conditions favorable to Jef- 
ferson in the election of 1800, 
and on the probability of his re- 
election, 32 ff.; favors facility of 
naturalization, 36; Jefferson ap- 
plauds his purpose to remain in 
America, 41; urges Jefferson to 
secure for the U.S. Houdon's 
bust of Franklin, 43; urges Jeffer- 
son to deliver to Livingston per- 
sonally the letter concerning 
Lafayette, 49; his entire sym- 
pathy with Jefferson enables him 
to understand his slightest word, 
50; assures neutrality in case of 
war between U.S. and Great 
Britain, 50; as to purchase of 
Louisiana, 50; as to commercial 
freedom of Santa Domingo, 50; 
on the possibility of war between 
France and U.S., 52; his reply 
to Jefferson as to the Louisiana 
Purchase, 53-55; on the states of 
Mexico and Spain, 54, 61; dis- 
advantages to the U.S., of con- 
quest of Mexico, 55, 56; the 
argument for freedom of com- 
merce, 56; the question of 
partiality between France and 
England, 56, 57; possible ex- 
change of Canada for Louisiana 
and Floridas, 60, 61; possibility 
of a war of acquisition, 60; on 
the financial profit of the Louisi- 

ana Purchase from the stand- 
point of the U.S., 62; Du Font's 
plan for justice to Lafayette, 
65 ff.; site of proposed powder 
factory, 67; his suggestion as to 
the heads of an agreement be- 
tween France and U.S. concern- 
ing New Orleans and the Flori- 
das, 69, 70, and n.\ suggests that 
he pay debts of the U.S. to certain 
Frenchmen, especially Lafayette, 
7 1 ; his desire to be agreeable and 
useful to the U.S., 80, 81; 
his unpaid advances to France, 
8 1 and n.; his gunpowder 
factory has no equal in the 
world, 82; land-titles in Ken- 
tucky, 83 and n,\ thanks Jefferson 
for the protection afforded the 
factory, 85 and .; condition of 
Europe leads him to determine 
to end his days in U.S., 86; his 
edition of Turgot's works, 86 and 
n. 9 1 06, in; suggests increasing 
the defences of the U.S., 91, 92, 
97, 98, 99; on Jefferson's strong 
stand against British encroach- 
ments on American rights, 92 and 
.; his opinion of England, 99; 
advises seizing Canada instantly 
in case of war, 99, and taking 
every opportunity to get pos- 
session of it amicably, 100; re- 
grets Jefferson's refusal to run 
again, but approves his motive, 
103; the U.S. not safe so long as 
Canada is not united to it, and 
means of defence are lacking, 
104; essential training of young 
men, 105; urges Jefferson to use 
his spare time to see that what 
remains is done, 105; applauds 
Jefferson for the Embargo with 



all its sacrifices, no; regrets 
that he has not begun the public 
education of the nation, no, in; 
hoped to found a Pontiania when 
he came to America after the fall 
of the French republic, 112; 
what prevented him, 112; is in 
haste to return, but not sure of 
his reception here, 112, 113; his 
views as to the future relations 
of the U.S., H4fT.; urges the 
necessity of acquiring the Flor- 
idas, 107; how to deal with 
Mexico, 107; warns against man- 
ufacturing as not necessary since 
commerce must be resumed some 
time and capital used for new 
industries will be thrown away, 
109; reiterates his regret at 
Jefferson's retirement, 120; his 
treatise on the finances of the 
U.S., 127 and n. 3 128, 129; 
takes charge of the secours d 
domicile, 131; his treatise ac- 
knowledged by Jefferson, with 
comments, 131; regrets lack of 
progress in public education in 
"U.S., 135, 136; urges Jefferson 
to plan and outline textbooks 
for elementary schools, 136; 
urges Jefferson not to refuse an 
invitation to run for President in 
1812, 136; further economical 
and financial recommendations 
to Jefferson, 138 ff.; his arrival 
in U.S. (1815), 154, 155; why 
lie missed Jefferson at Monti- 
cello, 154, 165 n.; his outlook for 
the future, 156 fT.; his satisfac- 
tion in his family, 156, 157; on 
the prospect of an immense re- 
public, 158 ff.; on the outlook 
for Germany, Italy, and Eng- 

land, 1 60, 161; and for Napoleon, 
161; determines to learn Eng- 
lish, 165; leaves with Jefferson 
his work on Education, and other 
works, 165^166, 167; consulted 
by certain republics about their 
constitutions, 166; prophesies the 
early fall of France, Germany, 
Italy, and England, 167; asks 
Jefferson to obtain from Madison 
an appointment as midshipman 
for his grandson, 167, 168 (and 
see Du Pont de Nemours, 
Samuel Francis, Jr.) ; his work on 
the Spanish republics, 176, 177; 
why he withheld his resignation 
as privy councillor, 177; his dan- 
ger of prosecution, 177; un- 
certain about his return to 
Europe, 177, 178; forbodes evil 
days for France, 178, and per- 
haps his own death, 179; Jef- 
ferson dissects and compares 
with U.S. his scheme for Spanish 
republics, 181 ff.; on Tracy's 
Montesquieu, printing, handling, 
etc., 191, 192; on his own powers 
as a writer, 192; his pessimistic 
views of his books, 192, 193; 
hopes that the rest of his life may 
be useful to the U.S., 194; a pos- 
sible solution of difficulties be- 
tween Spaniards of Europe and 
Creole Spaniards, 194; French 
science of political economy and 
finance, 194; the English run 
behindhand, 194; letter of Jef- 
ferson to E, I. Du Pont on his 
death and character, 195 
Du Pont, Samuel Francis, Jr., son 
of Victor, appointed midshipman 
in U.S. navy, and attains rank 
of rear-admiral, 16 and/i., 173 



Du Pont, Victor Marie, son of' 
Pierre Samuel, came to U.S. in 
1787, 3 TZ., 4; appointed consul- 
general of France at New York, 
but refused exequatur by Pres. 
Adams, 3 TZ.; buys house and 
shop in Alexandria, in order to 
be naturalized in Virginia, 23; 
mentioned, 6 and n., 29 and w,, 
35? 5 X > 53> 67, 1 68 and n. 

Du Pont, Madame P. S., her illness, 
162, 177, 179 her disdain for 
titles and wealth, 179, 180; men- 
tioned, 16, 18, 19, 29, 37, 77, 79, 
113, 162, 177, 193 

Du Ponts, characteristics of, 168 

Duport, Adrien, 161 n. 

Embargo, the, declared, 101, 102; 
advantage of, 121; why removed 
except as to France and England, 

England, invasion of Holland by, 
forced Lafayette to return to 
Hamburg, 71; interest of, in con- 
nection with Louisiana Purchase, 
57, 58, 59, 60; Du Pont advises 
that any treaty with, be well 
weighed and its conditions made 
binding, 99; Du Pont's view of 
government of, 99; vigorous at- 
tack can be made on, only by way 
of Canada, 99, 100; possible rela- 
tions with U.S., 1 1 6, 117; em- 
bargo continued as to, 121 
effect of indignation against, in 
U.S., has been to induce a ten- 
dency to manufacture and so to 
reduce the number of articles for 
which we depend on her, 124 
Jefferson's judgment of, 155; Du 
Pont's view of outlook for, 100 
167; Jefferson agrees with Du 

Pont 9 s opinion as to her hostile 
intentions against U.S., 172, 173; 
mentioned, 120 

English, the, have curbed agricul- 
ture to make beggars, 180 

Europe, no liberty to be hoped for 
in any part of, in a century or 
two after 1800, 35; war with, 
though not immediately threat- 
ening, should be prepared for, 
1 08, 109; very changeable, no; 
political activities of U.S. come 
too late, 1 10. And see Embargo 

Fairs advised for major manoeu- 
vres, 117, 1 1 8; also holidays and 
festivals with a religious touch, 

Federalists, and Republicans, no 
radical difference between, 39; 
some inflexible ones oppose Lou- 
isiana Purchase, 78; join with 
government as to the object to 
be gained against Great Britain, 


Ferdinand VII of Spain, 1 15 n. 

Finances of U.S., too bad to be pos- 
sible to change, but sufficed for 
actual needs in time of peace, 62 

Floridas, the, worth cultivating by 
the plough or for grain, but not 
for raising cattle, 62, 63; and 
Arabia, compared, 63; East and 
West, described by Jefferson, 75; 
Du Pont urges the necessity of 
acquiring to prevent closing of 
the Mississippi, 107; they belong 
to no European or maritime 
power, 107, 1 08; invasion of, to 
be feared, 116; should be de- 
fended at once if attacked, 119; 
and the War of 1812, 147 

Force, should be resorted to with- 



out hesitation, if necessary, even 
before preparation is complete, 
118, 119 

Fouche, Joseph, 175 

France, is interested in having the 
commerce of the U.S. enjoy 
every right in New Orleans, 68; 
more so, if English were more 
favored than French in Santo 
Domingo, 68; cession of Louisi- 
ana by Spain to, 47, 48; impor- 
tance of friendship with U.S., 47, 
48; Du Font's proposed heads 
of agreement between U.S. and, 
69, 70; future relations of, with 
U.S., 114, 115; embargo con- 
tinued as to, 12 r; Jefferson sees 
no end to despotism in, 162, 163; 
her early fall predicted, 167; will 
drag down Europe in her fall, 1 67 ; 
Du Font's forebodings of evil in, 

Franklin, Benjamin, 13, 34 

French Revolution, not in question 
in considering course of U.S. as 
to Lafayette, 66 

Gallatin, Albert, 35, 77, 79, 130, 
171, 181 

Germany, Du Font's view of out- 
look of, 1 60, 167 

Gilmer, Francis W., and Du Font 
National Education, 26 n.; men- 
tioned, 165/2., 174 

Great Britain, infringement of, 
on American rights in struggle 
against Napoleon, 92 and n. And 
see England 

Gual, Don Pedro, 169 

Gunpowder, Du Font's gift of, to 
U.S., 87; Jefferson writes of a 
much larger supply of saltpetre 
than was looked for, 90 

Hamilton, Alexander, his contracted 
English half-lettered idea, de- 
stroyed in the bud the hope of 
keeping the government going on 
true principles, 40; Jefferson on 
the ill consequences of his ideas, 
53; mentioned, 34 and ra.; the 
"Whiskey Rebellion," 128, 139 

Holland, and England, strained re- 
lations between (1800), force 
Lafayette to leave, 7 

Houdon, Jean Antoine, statue of 
Franklin, 43, 51, 67 

Impressment, danger of revival of, 
151, 152 

Indians, Du Pont on relations of 
whites and, 31 

"Inhabitants" and "citizens," 140 

Institut de France, Jefferson chosen 
a member of, 4 and n. 

Insurance, marine, question of, in- 
volved in Armstrong case, 85 

Italy, Du Font's view of outlook of, 
1 60, 167 

warning against speculators, 4 
and n.; consults Du Font as to 
establishment of a university, 8, 
9; his own ideas thereon, 9; 
Notes on Virginia, 10 and n.; false 
report of his death, 17 and n., 18; 
keeps a record of temperature, 19 
and n.; a negligent correspondent, 
20 and n.; disapproves of a na- 
tional university at Washington, 
22 n.; his belated acknowledgment 
of Du Font's book, 25; believes it 
impossible to translate, and deter- 
mines to print in French, 26; on 
the election of 1800, 26; Du Pont 
on, as "acting the sublime Presi- 



dent of the Universe," 28; Du 
Pont on his first message, 30 ff.; 
his only Vice, 30; hostility to the 
clergy, 32; relations with Priest- 
ley, 32 .; probability of his re- 
election, 33, 34; sympathy of 
French liberals with, 34 n.\ his 
policy of naturalization, lauded 
by Du Pont, 36; on difference 
between agricultural and urban 
inhabitants, 37, 38; believes the 
majority of Congress to be in 
sympathy with his message of 
1 80 1, 38; except for personal 
opposition between candidates, 
there would be no votes for 
federals within two years, 37; 
found the country in the enemy's 
hands, 39; removed only 90 for 
political reasons and 12 for 
delinquencies, 40; his criticism of 
Hamilton's ideas, 40, and of their 
consequences, 40; many unsuc- 
cessful experiments to be tried, 
41; elected a member of the 
Philosophical Society and of the 
Institut de France, 42 n.; the only 
born American elected to the 
Institut during his life, 42 n.; Du 
Font's reply to his letter relating | 
to the Louisiana Purchase, 52 ff., ' 
52 n.; Du Font's letter to, carrying 
letter to Livingston on same sub- 
ject, 54 fL; on his friendship for 
Du Font, 71; his reliance on his 
information and his views of the 
subject (Louisiana), and his good 
disposition, 73, 74, 75 ; description 
of the financial condition of the 
U.S,, 74, 75; argues with Du 
Pont concerning the terms of the 
cession, 75, 76; asks that their 
correspondence be burned, 77; 

his policy as to method of deal- 
ing with Louisiana territory, 79; 
awarded a medal by the Society 
of Agriculture of the Depart- 
ment of the Seine, 82 and n., 
83; and the Du Pont powder 
factory, 85 rc.; his medal from the 
Society delayed in transmission, 
88 and rc.; his reply to Du Font's 
advice to add to defences, 93, 94 
and 72,; on the state of opinion in 
U.S. against England, 94; on 
Burr's conspiracy, 94, 95; his un- 
willingness to be reflected, 96 
and w.; Du Pont thinks his term 
as president more useful than 
writing the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 96, 97; writes Du Pont 
of preparations for attack, 102; 
applauded by Du Pont for the 
measures taken during the last 
months of his administration, no; 
why had he not begun the public 
education of the nation? 112; Du 
Font's letter concerning external 
relations at close of his adminis- 
tration, ii4ff.; sees no way to 
avoid being entangled in war of 
Europe (1809), 121; advantage of 
the embargo, 121; his relief in 
leaving the presidency, 122; his 
popularity much better than his 
letter suggests, 1 22 and n. ; effect of 
the interruption of our commerce 
with England, 124; gives de- 
tails as to what is being done in 
both cities and country, 125; 
acknowledges Du Font's Obser- 
vations on taxation, 131, and sends 
it to Madison and Gallatin, 132 
34; in the new field of financial 
experiment in Spanish America, 
134; on Turgofs works, 146; on 


Turgot and Montesquieu, 145- 
50; on Correa de Serra, 146, 147; 
congratulates Du Pont on restora- 
tion of Louis XVIII, 151; his 
hopes for the future, 151; joins 
with Du Pont in his despair over 
France, 154; his judgment of 
England, 155; his explanation of 
his missing Du Pont's visit, 170; 
conduct and consequences of 
Napoleon's last apparition, 171; 
agrees with Du Pont as to Eng- 
land's hostile intentions toward 
the U.S., 172; advises Du Pont 
against translating his work on 
education into English, 173, 174; 
on Du Pont's work on the Spanish 
American republics, 181; dis- 
tinguishes between his plan and 
that of the U.S., 181 ff.; "We of 
the United States, you know, 
are constitutionally and con- 
scientiously Democrats," 181; in 
full agreement with him as to the 
moral principles on which the 
government is to be administered, 
184, 185; on the proposed pro- 
vision in the constitution of Spain, 
requiring ability to read and 
write, 185, 1 86; calls Du Pont's 
constitution for Colombian re- 
publics the best they can bear, 1 87 ; 
why he called them "Colombian," 
187; letter of, to E. I. Du Pont on 
his father's death and character, 

Joseph (Napoleon), King of Naples, 

fulien, M., his work on education, 

196; mentioned, 171 

Kentucky, land titles in, 83, ., 

Kosciuzko, Tadeus, letter to, sent 
by Jefferson to Du Pont, 46 

Lafayette, Marie-Joseph, Marquis 
de, forced by English invasion of 
Holland to go to Hamburg, 7; 
Du Pont on, 27; writes congratu- 
latory letter to Jefferson, 27 .; 
Du Pont writes to Jefferson con- 
cerning financial relief to, 44, 45; 
grant of land in Louisiana to, 
4472.; defence of, by Du Pont, 
65 ff.; Du Pont again urges pay- 
ment of U.S. indebtedness to, 
171; mentioned, 4, 15 ., 43, 71, 
187, 190 

Lafayette, Madame de, 7 

Lameth, Alexander, 161 n. 

Lameth, Charles M. F., 161 n. 

Lameth, Theodore, 161 . 

Larneths, the, profaned the French 
Revolution, 161 

Landowners, and workers, status 
of, 140, 141, 142, 143 

Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent, 28 
and . 

Lear, Tobias, American consul 
general at Santo Domingo, order- 
ed by Leclerc to leave the island, 
64 and n. 

Learned Societies, limited scope of, 

Leclerc, Charles, husband of Paul- 
ine Bonaparte, at Santo Domingo, 
64 and n. 

Livingston, Robert R., letter of 
Jefferson to Du Pont, relating to 
Louisiana Purchase, 46-49; sent 
to France as joint commissioner 
with Monroe, 73 ff.; mentioned, 
51, 61, 68 

Logan, George, i and n. 

Louis XVI, his daughter said to be 



aiming at the crown notwith- 
standing the Salic law, 175; men- 
tioned, 151 

Louis XVIII, 151 

Louisiana, Du Font's argument 
as to purchase of, by U.S. 
difficulties that may arise from 
Spain, Mexico, Great Britain, 
France to say nothing of the 
cost, 62-69; price paid for all, 
70 n. 

Louisiana Purchase, letter of Jeffer- 
son to Du Pont relating to, 46-49; 
Du Pont speaks favorably of, 50; 
Du Pont's reply to Jefferson's 
letter, 55 ff.; James Monroe and 
Livingston sent to Paris to smooth 
out difficulties, 73 ff.; treaty with 
France as to, welcomed with ac- 
clamation in U.S., 78 

L'Ouverture Toussaint, revolt of, 
and the Louisiana Purchase, 64 
and n, 

Madison, James, chosen by Jeffer- 
son as his successor, 102 and n.; 
would he follow Jefferson's plans 
for public education? in; men- 
tioned, 25, 37, 122, 130, 170 

Maitland, Sir Thomas, 64 and n 

Manufacturing not absolutely nec- 
essary for defence should not be 
undertaken, 109; commerce alone 
cannot be suspended, but some 
day it will resume its natural 
course, 109 

Mexico, and Spain, 54, 55; relations 
of, with lands of U.S. in hands 
of Spain, if armed by revolu- 
tion and civilized by Americans, 
might do incalculable harm, 55, 
56; how to be dealt with, if it 
becomes an independent power, 

1 08; the road to, through the 
U.S., 115 and n. 

Milligan, Mr., 189, 190, 191 

Mirabeau, Victor Riquetti, Comte 
de, 161 n. 

Mississippi River, exclusion of, from 
proposed cession of Louisiana, 
not to be considered, 73, 74 

Monroe, James, sent to France to 
negotiate concerning Louisiana, 
73 ff.; has doubts as to value of 
Du Pont correspondence, 78 , 

Monticello, 19 

Montreal, Du Pont disappointed in 
result of expedition against, 150 

Moral and political sciences, proba- 
ble attitude of enlightened men of 
Europe toward, 34, 35 

Napoleon I, 161 (it happened this 

letter of M. Du Pont was written 

only a month before Waterloo); 

mentioned, 65, 151, 160 
National Institute. See Institut de 

Naturalization, made easier by 

Act of 1802, 36 . 
New Granada, 166 and n. 
New Orleans, will always be de facto 

capital of the two Louisianas, 62; 

effect in U.S. of right of deposit 

at, ceded to U.S. by treaty with 

Spain, 72 
New York, elections in, in 1800, 14; 

attack by way of, considered, 100. 

Octavius, Emperor, 162 
Old men, possibilities in, 13 

Palacios, General, 169, 186 

Paris, negotiations between Pres. 

Adams's commissioners and the 

French at, 19 n. 



Paterson, Mr., said to have pro- 
mised' to translate Du Font's 
treaties, but never did, 138 and n. 

Pennsylvania, vote of, in election 
of 1800, 26 and n. 

Philadelphia Aurora, 1 7 n. 

Philadelphia Gazette, 1771, 

Philosopher, a, and statesman must 
be a great writer, 36 

Political economy, science of, 
should be known in U.S., 137, 

Pontius Comminius, ancestor of the 
Du Fonts, 1 68 

Priestley, Joseph, asked by Jefferson 
to propose a plan for a university, 

8,9 ' 

Priests, feeling between Jefferson 

and, 32 n. And see Royalists 
Printing, progress in art of, 1 25 ; lack 

of antimony a serious drawback, 

125, 126 
Public education, Du Pont believes 

that it cannot begin too soon, in; 

will Madison follow Jefferson's 

plan?, in 
Pusy, Bury de, 3, 4, 14, 15, 15 ., 

1 6, 1 8, 20, and n. 3 25 and ., 29, 


Pusy, Maurice de, 135 
Pusy, Madame de, 135 
Pusy, Mademoiselle de, 135 

Quebec, not considered worth its 

cost, 149 
Quesnay, Francois, 13 

Randolph, Mrs. Martha, Jefferson's 
daughter, entertains Du Pont at 
Monticello in Jefferson's absence, 
164, 165; mentioned, 169, 181, 

Randolph, Septimia, 169, 176, 193 

Randolpn, I'homas Mann, i n. 9 

165 n. 
Real estate, belongs to those who 

can sell it, 143 
Representative governments have 

nowhere reached the perfection 

of which they are capable, 158, 


Republic, revolts in, how brought 
about, 143. 

Republican party and the Federal 
judiciary, 31 and n. 

Republican sentiment found every- 
where except in those nations 
absolutely bereft of reason, 1 44 

Republicans and federalists, 38, 39 

Ritchie, Mr,, 189, 191 

Robespierre, Maximilien de, 151 

Ronaldson, Mr., type-founder, goes 
to France to arrange for shipment 
of antimony to U.S. by way of 
England, 126 

Royalists, all the people, federal 
and republicans, except the noisy 
band of royalists living chiefly in 
cities, and priests both of city and 
country, 39 

Royalists and priests, opposition of, 
to Jefferson plans, immoveable, 

Santo Domingo, seizure of Ameri- 
can property at, by French, 64 
and n., 65 

Say, Jean-Baptiste, 152, 172 

Schools, primary and elementary, 
all instruction in use in our daily 
life, all good sense, all virtue, 
etc., must begin with, n; conse- 
quence of this state of things, 12 

Short, Mr., 46 

Silvestre, M., 88 n. 

Skipwith, Fulwer, American com- 



mercial agent at Paris, 83, 88, 89, 

Smith, Adam, 152 

Society of Agriculture of the Dept. 
of the Seine, Jefferson awarded 
medal by, 82 n. 

Spain, and Mexico, 53, 54; negoti- 
ations between U.S. and, relating 
to Floridas, 62, 63, 68; treaties of 
U.S. with, 68; protests against 
right to transfer Louisiana, 78, 
79; renewed spirit of 'hostility on 
her part, 89; wise provision in 
proposed constitution of, 1^5, 186 

Spaniards, and European and 
Creole, possible solution of diffi- 
culties between, 194; mentioned, 

Spanish American, new field of 
political experiment opening in, 
134; the present morass of, 159 

Talleyrand, Charles Maurice de 

P6rigord and the X Y Z, 48 and 

n., 49 
Tannery, Du Pont wishes to perfect 

in U.S., 87 
Taxes, Du Pont's dissertation on, 

errors relative to, 139 ff 
Temperature, Jefferson's record of, 

19 and n.] at Monticello, 21 
Ticknor, George, 152 and ,, 153, 


Tracy, Stutt de, his Commentaries 
on Montesquieu, attributed to 
De Pont, 145 and n.\ letter to Du 
Pont from, 187, 188; difficulty 
about procuring, translating, find- 
ing and publishing of his Montes- 
quieu, 188-192 

Truxtun, Capt. Thomas, and his 
desire for a second engagement 
with the Vengeance after peace 

negotiations were in progress, 22 
Turgot, Anne, R. J. de, du Pont's 
edition of his works, 86 and w., 91, 
106, 145, 146 

United States, why Lafayette will 
not come to, 7; people of, tract- 
able and indisposed to harass the 
government, 33; silent common 
sense silences the chatter of the 
merely clever, 33; everything in 
Jefferson's favor, 33, 34; Du Pont 
on ambition of, 54, 55; effect of 
conquest of Mexico by Spain on, 
55, 56, Du Pont's arguments for 
and against the Louisiana Pur- 
chase, 54, 61; France wishes her 
to be a sea-power, England not, 
58; which form of treaty does she 
prefer? 59; favorable intentions 
of France toward, in reference to 
New Orleans, 68; preference of 
Spain for France over England in 
Santo Domingo, wholly contrary 
to order of French government, 
68; Du Pont's proposed heads of 
agreement between France and, 
69, 70; various methods of attack 
in, considered, 100; disadvantages 
of, in certain respects, 109; less 
suited for diplomacy, 109; too far 
from Europe to have an accurate 
idea of it, ,109, no; its political 
activities come too late for 
Europe, no; more hated in 
France than Spanish or Austrians, 
114, 115; the danger from Eng- 
land, 115; political economy 
should be known in, 137, 158; 
England will certainly make an- 
other war on, 167 

United States Navy, achievements 
of, in War of 1812, 149 



Universities, limited scope'of, II 
Urban inhabitants of the U.S., dif- 
ference between and agricultural, 

Vengeance, La, andTruxtun, 22 and n. 
Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Gomte 

de, 17 

Volney, Constantia, Comte de, 46 
Voltaire, Arouet de, 13 

War, Du Pont on cost of, 62 
War, Du Pont insists on need of 

preparedness for defence, 117; 

drills made pleasurable, 117 
War of 1812, inauspicious begin- 

ning of, 147 
Warden, Mr., 188 
Washington, Bushrod, 43 n, 
Washington, George, 34 
"Whiskey Rebellion," 34 andn. 3 

Wilkinson, James, 148 
Wirt, William, 165 

X Y Z, 48 and n. 9 49